Prince at Asean-EU Dialogue

His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, yesterday morning, attended the Opening Session of the 17th Asean-European Union Foreign Ministers Meeting where a keynote address was delivered by Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia.

His Royal Highness attended a meeting of Asean-EU Co-chairmen and Closed Sessions of the Asean-EU Dialogue, in which His Royal Higness led discussions on "Future Directions", highlighting the successful, longstanding cooperation between the regions and stressing the future need to strengthen Asean in order to meet modern challenges.

His Royal Highness also held a bilateral meeting with HE Alexander Stubb, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Finland.

His Royal Highness joined other Asean and EU Ministers and Heads of Delegation for an audience with His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia at the royal palace, Phnom Penh Wednesday afternoon.

A special Asean Foreign Ministers Meeting was also held to coordinate Asean's position on a number of international and regional matters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

His Royal Highness Wednesday evening attended a welcoming dinner at the Phnom Penh hotel hosted by Hor Namhong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia for Ministers and Heads of Delegation attending the 17th Asean-EU Foreign Ministers meeting.

Meanwhile HRH Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah attended a separate welcoming dinner at hotel Cambodiana hosted by Lok Chumteav Bory Hor, wife of Hor Namhong.

The Asean and the EU signed two declarations Thursday afternoon to enable the EU to accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia, Xinhua reported.

The two declarations, one is the "Asean Declaration of Consent to the Accession to TAC" and the other is "Declaration on Accession to the TAC", were signed by Kasit Piromya, Thailand Foreign Minister, and Jan Kohout, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic during the 17th Asean-EU Ministerial Meeting.

"The European Union and European Community declares its intent to accede to the Treaty, on the basis of the letter of application of December 6, 2006," EU's declaration said. While the Asean said it declares the consent of all the states in Southeast Asia to the accession to the Treaty by the EU and EC.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said in his earlier keynote address that "the signing of these documents represents another significant step forward in Asean-EU relations."

Hor Namhong, Cambodia's foreign minister and co-president of the meeting, said that "this accession will certainly contribute to peace, security and stability in the region."

This biennial Asean-EU ministerial meeting was attended by representatives from all the 10 Asean countries and the 27 EU member states, as well as delegates from the Asean Secretariat and EU Commission.

Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong and Jan Kohout, Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs whose country is current EU president, are co-presidents of the meeting.

The 16th Ministerial Meeting between the Asean and EU was held in Germany in 2007.

The Asean groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. - Borneo Bulletin (29th May 2009)