Visa-free travel between Brunei, Ukraine
By Azrol Azmi

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych yesterday welcomed the Exchange of Notes on the Mutual Exemption of Visa Requirements for Holders of Ordinary Passports. They acknowledged that this would increase the flow of tourists and businesses between the two countries.

In a Joint Statement between Brunei and Ukraine on the occasion of the president's three-day State Visit to the Sultanate, both countries pledged to cooperate in other fields such as agriculture, defence, energy, education, tourism, culture, youth and sports.

This was the second State Visit to Brunei Darussalam by a Head of State of Ukraine.

The agreement is aimed at introducing the legal framework for visa-free border crossings by the citizens of both countries, who use "usual" passports to travel abroad. The document stipulates the right of the citizens of Ukraine and Brunei to stay in a host country without visas for up to 30 days, Interfax reported.

Both leaders discussed potential cooperation in the area of agriculture and agreed on the benefits of exchanging expertise and technology in this field. President Yanukovych invited Brunei to invest in Ukraine's black earth belts and expressed Ukraine's interest to facilitate the supply of agricultural products to the international markets, including Brunei Darussalam.

His Majesty and President Yanukovych exchanged views on ways to strengthen bilateral relations as well as regional and international matters of common interest. Both leaders acknowledge the friendly relations between Brunei and Ukraine and expressed commitment to enhance cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two countries and recognised the importance of regular exchange of visits to promote cooperation in various areas. They also agreed to enhance economic cooperation and encouraged the private sector to hold regular consultations to broaden trade ties.

His Majesty and Yanukovych also expressed their heartfelt condolences and sympathies over the loss of life and widespread damage caused by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in northeast Japan. They also offered their support to the government and people of Japan during this very difficult time.

Meanwhile in defence cooperation, both leaders expressed satisfaction with the progress made and welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of defence. His Majesty also expressed appreciation for Ukraine's regular participation at the Brunei Darussalam International Defence Exhibition and Conference (BRIDEX).

His Majesty and President Yanukovych also recognised the potential of cooperation in energy particularly in the oil and gas sector and agreed to explore opportunities for the benefit of the two countries.

Meanwhile, both leaders stressed the importance of cooperation in education, which can contribute to the promotion of people-to-people contacts, and encouraged the relevant agencies to finalise the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of higher education and science. They also agreed that exchanges in other areas such as tourism, culture, youth and sports would enrich bilateral relations and deepen mutual understanding between the two countries.

His Majesty and President Yanukovych reaffirmed their countries' commitment to the objectives and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and standard norms of International Law. They acknowledged the importance of peaceful settlement of international disputes and emphasised the leading role of the United Nations in safeguarding global peace and security. They also noted their countries' common positions on a number of important regional and international matters and agreed to further strengthen their bilateral cooperation within the framework of the United Nations and other international fora in addressing issues such as energy security, food security, terrorism, piracy and the adverse impact of climate change.

As 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident, both leaders expressed support for the recovery and sustainable development of the affected regions with the active engagement of the international community. Both leaders recognised the importance of the International Conference "Twenty Five Years after the Chernobyl Accident; Safety for the Future" in April 2011 in Kiev. In this connection, they welcomed efforts made towards the timely completion of the projects on enhancement of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant safety. Both leaders also recognised the importance of sharing knowledge in the field of disaster-risk management.

Both leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and they noted with satisfaction the ongoing discussion on ways to efficiently cooperate in addressing this problem.

His Majesty and President Yanukovych expressed satisfaction with the outcome of their meeting which was held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere of mutual understanding and trust and President Yanukovych expressed deep gratitude to His Majesty for the kind hospitality extended to himself and his delegation during the State Visit. The president also extended an invitation to His Majesty to visit Ukraine and His Majesty expressed appreciation for the invitation. - Borneo Bulletin (31st March 2011)