Leaders set to deliberate on Asean roadmap
By Waleed PD Mahdini

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam will be joining other regional heads of state and government for the 16th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit held in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.

The four-day summit will focus on the theme of 'Towards the Asean Community: From Vision to Action', in which the assembled leaders, ministers and delegates will be deliberating and deciding upon the best course of action to ensure that the deadline set by the Roadmap for the Asean Community for full integration by 2015 will stay its course.

Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, left the Sultanate Sunday to represent the country at the 3rd Asean Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council meeting tomorrow at Hanoi's National Convention Centre. Following the ASCC meeting will be the inauguration ceremony for the Asean Commission on the promotion and protection of women and children rights.

On Thursday afternoon, the 10 Asean leaders will convene and meet with the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly Representatives, of which Brunei's representative is Pehin Datu Imam Dato Paduka Seri Ustaz Hj Awg Abdul Hamid Bakal, before the official opening ceremony of the 16th Asean Summit.

According to Xinhua, some 700 local and foreign journalists have converged for the summit, where regional and global issues from Myanmar to climate change are expected to be on the agenda.

His Majesty will be lending his weight in approving two declarations - the Asean declaration on sustainable recovery and development, as well as the Asean declaration on responses to climate change.

In a press briefing before the kick-off of the summit, Vietnam's Deputy Foreign Minister, Dao Viet Trung, highlighted that "for the first time, there will be a plenary session between the Asean leaders, ministers and the heads of the three Asean communities to show their determination to speed up the creation of a united Asean Community". He went on to add that the establishment of the Asean Economic Community will also be a top priority to create a single market and production base to better facilitate the flow of goods, investments, services, capital and human resources for the 550 million people that the 10-member regional bloc represents. - Borneo Bulletin (6th April 2010)