His Majesty grants audience to Abhisit

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, yesterday afternoon granted an audience to Mr Abhisit Vejjajiva, Prime Minister of Thailand, at one of the leading hotels in Hua Hin, Thailand.

During the audience, His Majesty and the Prime Minister exchanged views on bilateral relations and held discussions on further enhancing bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Later in the evening, His Majesty, together with other Asean leaders, attended the Informal Working Dinner hosted by the Prime Minister of Thailand. The Informal Working Dinner was held at a leading hotel in Hua Hin, Thailand.

Southeast Asian nations inaugurated a human rights commission Friday.

One of the first orders of business was the inauguration of the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva called the move "a significant milestone in the evolution of Asean". It is the first human rights watchdog in the bloc's 42-year history.

"The issue of human rights is not about condemnation but about awareness," he said.

But he acknowledged the shortcomings of the commission, calling it an "evolutionary process toward strengthening the human rights architecture in the region."

Members of Asean have recently escalated their criticism of Myanmar, particularly over the detention of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. But the summit will again likely act by consensus, avoid confrontations and maintain that the group's approach to engaging Myanmar works better than the West's sanctions and threats.

The summit will also sign a declaration on climate change and discuss food security, bio-energy, disaster management and how trade barriers can be brought down to bring about a European Union-style grouping by 2015.

The bloc will also meet with leaders of China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Thailand has deployed more than 36,000 military and police both in Bangkok and to guard the summit at the beach resort of Cha-am, 200 kilometres (120 miles) south of the capital, said government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn. Authorities are also empowered to impose curfews. - Borneo Bulletin (24th October 2009)