Coordinated policies sought for development
By Azlan Othman

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday attended the second closed session of the 8th Summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 8) at the Salle du Trone, Royal Palace Belgium. The agenda of the second session was "Advance on the Path of Sustainable Development".

His Majesty, during the second closed session, emphasised the importance of coordinated economic, social and environmental policies in pursuing sustainable development as well as open markets and the conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda.

His Majesty highlighted the importance of encouraging contribution from all segments of society to sustainable development and suggested educational and technical exchanges between Asia and Europe.

His Majesty also acknowledged the need for expertise and technical know-how from Asia and Europe in areas that promote sustainable development such as environmental protection, energy conservation and climate change.

After the second closed session His Majesty held a four-eye meeting with His Majesty King Albert II at the Royal Palace Belgium.

His Majesty the Sultan then attended the third closed session at the Salle du Trone. The agenda for this session was "Global Issue in Focus". The topics discussed under this agenda included nuclear disarmament, terrorism, Islamophobia, United Nations Security Council reforms, Millennium Development Goals, maritime security, and human rights.

The third closed session was followed by a reception hosted by His Majesty King Albert II at the same venue.

A working lunch, hosted by the President of the European Council Van Rompuy, followed the reception. The agenda during the luncheon was "Regional Issues". The topics discussed under this agenda included Kosovo, conflict between Palestine and Israel, Iran's nuclear programme, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Korean Peninsula, and Myanmar.

The agenda for the fourth and last closed session was "People to People, Visibility and Future of Asem".

Discussions at this session were mostly focused on ways to enhance mutual understanding between the peoples of Europe and Asia.

At the closing ceremony of the Asem 8, Chairman Van Rompuy presented the Chair's Statement. This was followed by a statement delivered by the next host of the Asem Summit, Prime Minister of Laos Bouasone Bouphavanh. Laos will host Asem 9 Summit in 2012.

His Majesty yesterday evening left Brussels, Belgium.

Before leaving to the Abelag International Airport, a 'doa selamat' was read by Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned, the State Mufti.

Present at the airport to bid farewell to His Majesty was Gust Vanhove, Deputy Head of Protocol.

Also present at the airport were Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abd Rahman Haji Ibrahim, Second Minister of Finance in the Prime Minister's Office; Dato Paduka Serbini Ali, Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to Belgium and Head of Mission to the European Union; and officers of the Embassy of Brunei Darussalam in Belgium. - Borneo Bulletin (6th October 2010)