Bringing back confidence of people key to recovery
By Liza Mohd in Lima, Peru

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam lauded Apec (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) leaders for coming together to help mitigate the effect of the global financial crisis on the real economy when addressing the leaders' first retreat to mark the 16th Apec Economic Leaders meeting, which started Saturday.

His Majesty reiterated the importance of faster recovery by bringing back the confidence of the people through efforts that is global in scale and by reaching an agreement in the Doha round of the WTO.

His Majesty also took part in the 4th Meeting of Apec Business Advisory Council (Abac), in Lima, Peru.

Meanwhile, Pacific Rim leaders yesterday said they could overcome the global financial crisis in 18 months.

The 21 leaders from Asia and the Americas said they have taken "extraordinary steps" to strengthen their economies and believe the crisis can be solved in a year and a half, AP reported.

They are also directing ministers to meet in Geneva next month to revive the so-called Doha round of World Trade Organisation free-trade talks.

Earlier, His Majesty was greeted upon arrival at the Ministry of Defense Convention (MoD) Center in Pentagonito, with a traditional handshake by Peruvian President Alan Garcia Perez.

After the official welcoming ceremony, His Majesty joined the 21 Apec leaders in a roundtable discussion and meeting, which focused on the Apec's theme this year, 'A New Commitment to the Asia-Pacific Development'.

During the leaders' first retreat, His Majesty and the Apec leaders held discussions on the global financial crisis, the WTO Doha Development Agenda and Food and Energy Security.

After the first retreat, the Brunei leader met with the Abac members which comprise think tanks, business and financial experts, investment leaders and CEOs from the Asia-Pacific region for dialogue and interaction.

Later, the leaders were feted to a gala dinner and cultural performance at the Caceres Esplanade in the MoD Center.

His Majesty and other Apec leaders were scheduled to conclude their second retreat yesterday and come together for an official group photo clad in the Apec host economy's special Peruvian ensemble. The leaders week will then end with the issuance of the final declaration.

On Friday, His Majesty attended a bilateral meeting with the Peruvian President at the government palace to enhance relations between both countries as Apec members.

Both leaders expressed views that Apec can play a role in strengthening the economic situation in the Asia-Pacific region.

Brunei and Peru established diplomatic relations in 1990 and both countries are also members of the Non-Alliance Movement.

Peru is also committed to joining Brunei, New Zealand, Singapore and Chile in a free trade agreement called 'P4' or TransPac - TransPacific Strategic and Economic partnership. - Borneo Bulletin (24th Nov 2008)