Sultan to attend Apec, join global economic debate
By Liza Mohd in Lima, Peru

More than 8,000 people comprising leaders, delegates, authorities, government officials, entrepreneurs and journalists representing the 21 member economies of the Apec (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) gather in Lima for the 16th annual Eeconomic Leaders' Meeting from November 21-23 this year under the theme "A New Commitment to Asia-Pacific Development".

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam is scheduled to participate in the Leaders' Meeting, which will address the global economic crisis, Apec's support for the WTO Doha Round negotiations, human security, trade and investment deliverables, anti-corruption and transparency, food security and climate change among others.

His Majesty is also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with several Apec leaders.

Brunei, as an early member since November 1989, will take part in the Apec Leaders' week in which the fight against corruption is the priority topic. Corruption is considered the greatest economic and social obstacle in achieving the development and commercial integration of the Asia-Pacific region.

Brunei hosted the summit in 2000 during which His Majesty's government pledged to look at options for a big investment in the downstream oil and gas sector as part of an economic diversification strategy aimed at broadening its industrial base.

The Leaders' Meeting will begin on November 22 when the leaders will have their first retreat, attend dialogue with the Apec Business Advisory Council (Abac) followed by a gala dinner. The next day, the leaders will attend their second retreat followed by the official group photo donning the host's traditional attire, which is part of Apec's annual custom.

On the same day, a press conference at the Government Palace will take place where Peruvian leader Alan Garcia and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long (as the next host) will participate.

The Leaders' Week will be the climax of the annual event after Peru has organised 122 meetings in 11 cities throughout the country.

The Apec annual summit is preceded by the Apec Ministrial Meeting (AMM) on Nov 19 and 20 and Apec senior officials meeting, which concluded on Nov 17.

After nine months of meetings and debates, the conclusions of these meetings will be announced in the Final Declaration of Leaders.

Chairman of Apec Peru High-Level Commission, Vice-Admiral (R) Luis Giampietri, said this year's summit gathers the most attendants in Apec's history. The largest delegation comprising 900 officials will be from the United States led by its President George W Bush. - Borneo Bulletin (20th Nov 2008)