BRUNEI'S forthcoming chairmanship of ASEAN for 2013 will pave the way for progress and a new architecture of cooperation, said ASEAN Secretary-General Dr Surin Pitsuwan yesterday in a press conference at the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Echoing sentiments from a recent exclusive interview with The Brunei Times, Dr Surin said that Brunei is very capable and very able in steering the ASEAN Community towards meeting its looming 2015 deadline. The community building agenda is set to take precedence during the three-day summit at the capital's Peace Palace.
He told reporters yesterday that His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam assured Brunei is ready for its ASEAN chairmanship. I have just asked the Sultan of Brunei, His Majesty: is Brunei ready? He said: yes, of course, recalled Dr Surin.
The ASEAN Secretary-General noted that Brunei has been very active in the run-up to its chairmanship of ASEAN commencing on 1 January, 2013. Brunei has been very active (with) consulting, preparing and working behind the curtain plus planning for its own chairmanship, he said.
He elaborated that being a small country allows Brunei to be very agile, which he previously said will enable the Sultanate to navigate through the sensitive issues that analysts anticipate would arise in next years summits.
We have full confidence that the Sultan, acting as chair of ASEAN next year, will bring a lot of progress to the ASEAN Community and contributing to community building and a new architecture of cooperation here in Southeast Asia, said Dr Surin at the press conference yesterday. He also highlighted Brunei's 28-year membership in ASEAN as well as its experience in hosting the ASEAN Summit in 2001 and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 2002. Brunei has a lot of initiatives being readied for the consideration of the ASEAN leaders, he said.
Brunei is due to receive chairmanship of ASEAN for 2013 in a symbolic handover ceremony slated during the closing of the 21st ASEAN Summit and related summits on November 20.
The handover ceremony will take place between His Majesty and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
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