Brunei sees potential in joint oil exploration with Myanmar
Hakim Hayat

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam expressed satisfaction over the immense growth of cooperation that Brunei Darussalam and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar have accomplished in many areas over the years and said there is plenty of room for potential growth in areas of commerce, trade and investment between both countries.

In a titah made last night during a State Banquet hosted in honour of visiting Myanmar President, U Thein Sein, His Majesty said he also sees potential for greater growth in joint ventures, especially in the area of oil exploration.

Also present at the State Banquet at the Istana Nurul Iman were HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office; HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade; HRH Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah; HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik; HRH Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as well as other members of the royal family.

Earlier in the titah, His Majesty praised the Myanmar President's endeavour in creating better appreciation within the region and beyond and his great efforts in overcoming challenges facing Myanmar in the interest of the country's future.

"Brunei Darussalam joins your many other friends in wishing you every success in your continuing efforts to maintain peace, and to bring about enhanced progress and prosperity of your people," His Majesty added.

Recalling his visit to Myanmar five years after the establishment of diplomatic relations between both countries in 1993, His Majesty said, "Since then, there have been regular contacts and exchanges between our ministers and officials, and it is hoped that this will encourage greater people-to-people contacts and more particularly active private sector interaction." His Majesty noted with satisfaction that valuable cooperation between both countries has been initiated in the areas of education, human resource development and the health sector. "This cooperation has opened the way for professionals, doctors, nurses, workers and students from Myanmar to come to Brunei and contribute to our development," His Majesty added.

As Asean gears up to establish the Asean Community by 2015, His Majesty said Brunei and Myanmar as colleagues in Asean will no doubt work hand-in-hand with other Asean member states in realising this target.

As Brunei takes over the Asean Chair next year, His Majesty expressed his delight that a number of Myanmar officials will be working very closely with Brunei to gain experience and to ensure that there will be continuity in all of the association's work.

Meanwhile, President U Thein Sein in his return speech said Myanmar values its relations with Brunei Darussalam. The frequent exchange of high-level visits between both countries have contributed significantly in strengthening bilateral relations and cooperation, the president said, citing the landmark visits from leaders of both countries.

With his visit, he said he is convinced that it will give a strong impetus to further strengthening the existing friendly relations and widening the scope of cooperation. "We have had a friendly and fruitful discussion on the existing close cooperation between our countries as well as future direction," he added.

President U Thein Sein said bilateral relations and cooperation between both countries have been further enhanced through the increased contacts and mutual support in Asean and various regional and international fora and expressed Myanmar's appreciation to His Majesty and the people of Brunei for the continuous support towards Myanmar's transition to democracy.

The president said he looks forward to working more closely with His Majesty both bilaterally and within the framework of regional groupings and at international fora to promote peace, stability and prosperity in the region and beyond. "We stand ready to enhance cooperation with Brunei Darussalam at every level to ensure mutual benefits for our people," he added.

In concluding his speech, President U Thein Sein said, in Myanmar, they are committed to best serve the will and wishes for their people and are endeavouring to achieve peace, stability and economic development. "We have made efforts to achieve peace and stability in the country by making necessary engagements with the internal political forces. At the same time, we have offered peace talks to the ethnic armed groups in the country to achieve national reconsolidation. All these efforts resulted in the environment of political stability, rule of law and opportunities for economic activities and foreign direct investment," he said.

The president is on a three-day State Visit here at the invitation by His Majesty. He is scheduled to visit Brunei LNG Sdn Bhd in the Belait District before wrapping up his visit today. - Borneo Bulletin (5 December 2012)