Sultan in Laos for ASEM 9

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam safely arrived in Vientiane, the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos) yesterday to attend the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit on November 5 and 6.

Upon arrival at the Wattay International Airport, His Majesty consented to receive a bouquet of flowers and was introduced to Moulinh Sinbandith, Minister of Natural Resources and Enviroment of Laos; Saithong Keoduangdy, Vice Governor of Vientiane; Phouangkeo Langsy, Director General of Asia Pacific and Africa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Laos.

His Majesty consented to pass through the static guard before boarding the motorcade towards the Don Chan Palace where His Majesty will reside throughout the summit.

Also present at the airport was Dr Haji Emran bin Haji Bahar, Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to Laos.

His Majesty was greeted on arrival at Don Chan Palace by the General Manager of the hotel, Mao Zhongshan. His Majesty also consented to receive a bouquet of flowers.

Earlier, before His Majesty left the Istana Nurul Iman, a doa selamat was read by Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned, the State Mufti.

Present at His Majesty the Sultan's Flight Hangar in Rimba to bid farewell to His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik; His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Wakeel; and Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah as well as other members of the royal family.

Also present at the hangar were Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Cheterias; Speaker of the State Legislative Council; Cabinet Ministers; Members of Councils; Deputy Ministers; Commander of Royal Brunei Armed Forces; and Acting Commissioner of Police.

The 9th Asia-Europe Summit Meeting (ASEM 9) brings together the Heads of State and Government of the 48 partners from Asia and Europe. The theme of the 9th Asia-Europe Summit Meeting is 'Friends for Peace, Partners for Prosperity'.

This year marks the 16th anniversary of the establishment of ASEM. Since its inception in Bangkok in March 1996, the ASEM process has made significant contribution to the promotion of mutual understanding, peace, stability, development and prosperity of Asia and Europe.

The 9th ASEM Summit will discuss regional and international issues of common interest and concern, including, among others, food and energy security, sustainable development, financial and economic crisis, climate change, natural disaster response, socio-cultural cooperation and the future direction of ASEM.

The ASEM grouping membership will be expanded to 51, with the inclusion of Bangladesh, Norway and Switzerland, at the meeting, Bernama reported.

Accompanying His Majesty are Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim, Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister's Office and Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II. - Borneo Bulletin (5 November 2012)