His Majesty to attend Democracy Forum
By Azlan Othman

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam is expected to join other leaders in the region for the Bali Democracy Forum, a meeting of Asian leaders aimed at strengthening democracy, the Jakarta Post reported.

The newspaper said that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono would open the Forum. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, as well as representatives from 31 countries will attend the forum, presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said.

The meeting will take place on December 10 and 11 in Nusa Dua, Bali.

"This inter-governmental forum, initiated by Indonesia, is aimed at promoting democracy both regionally and globally," Dino said, adding that the forum would be held annually.

The forum will allow Asian countries to share experiences and their best practices for sustaining democracy. "This forum is open to all Asian countries, regardless of their political systems," said Dino.

To support the forum agenda, Yudhoyono will inaugurate the Institute for Peace and Democracy at the Udayana University in Denpasar.

More than 20 leaders and ministers from countries as far away as Afghanistan and Mongolia will attend the meeting. The Indonesian president will host the forum and co-chair sessions of the meeting with the Australian prime minister.

Indonesian media also reported that representatives of the 31 countries comprise 23 ministers while the rest are ambassadors and high commissioners.

The theme of the forum is "Building and Consolidating Democracy: A Strategic Agenda for Asia" and it stresses on Asia.

In the annual ministerial meeting, there will be a working group meeting at the executive level that will meet monthly to discuss the agenda derived from the forum. - Borneo Bulletin (9th Dec 2008)