Brunei upholds East Asia’s partnership with Palestine
Hakim Hayat

BRUNEI Darussalam yesterday upheld its support for capacity building in Palestine and the development of a strong social, economic and business partnership between Palestine and the countries of East Asia.

His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, highlighted this point in a statement at the 2nd Conference on Cooperation Among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (CEAPAD II) in Jakarta, Indonesia.

His Royal Highness said that, “For the past 65 years, Palestine needed constant inspiration and hope and that is why I thank our friends from Japan for the hope they gave us last year with their invitation to meet and discuss new ways of working with Palestine and it is why I much appreciate the inspiration Indonesia offers us here at our second meeting especially in President (Dr Susilo H Bambang) Yudhoyono’s opening statement.

“For us, this means that it is a privilege to join you here and an honour to work with our Palestinian colleagues.

“In practical terms, we would like to do this in all ways possible. We have ideas. We have institutions and we have opportunities. They offer hope for our young people in education, training, sport and culture to gain mutual understanding. They offer inspiration for our business people, artists, and professionals to work together and through the exhibition here to develop a network between East Asia and Palestine, they combine both hope and inspiration.

“What it amounts to is very clear as President Yudhoyono once said at the United Nations, ‘people need be assured of a future with opportunities for a living and a livelihood and a robust confidence in the future.

“So, we are here to help assure that future for Palestine and to strengthen that confidence in every way we can. And, to sum up, Co-Chairmen, our congratulations on your efforts here and thank you very much indeed for the invitation.

“We will give you all the support we can both here and in our work with the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).”

The conference was opened by President Yudhoyono and attended by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah of the State of Palestine and ministers and delegates from 21 countries and representatives from the United Nations, the World Bank and other international agencies, according to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

It also featured an international trade exhibition in which Brunei Darussalam presented displays of local products, handicrafts and cultural displays designed to promote private sector cooperation.

The conference was co-chaired by Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Dr R M Marty M Natalegawa of the Republic of Indonesia; Riad Maliki of the State of Palestine; and Fumio Kishida of Japan.

His Royal Highness said, “My warmest respects to President Yudhoyono and my great appreciation to the government and people of Indonesia for their welcome and extremely kind hospitality. I would also like to add my very best wishes to Prime Minister Hamdallah and the people of Palestine.

“First, a few overall points. The draft communique we received was full of very interesting ideas and proposals and we are pleased to endorse them. Also, Dr Marty’s report and the opening remarks by Ministers Kishida and Mashabane and Prime Minister Hamdallah have given us confidence and a sense of purpose.

“So our great appreciation for the excellent arrangements and especially the recent letter we received from the New Asia-Africa Strategic Partnership. I think it is an excellent initiative and as you asked, we are very happy to renew our support.

“Next, on today’s meeting, when I was coming here, I remembered some words expressed a long time ago by Adam Malik, one of the founding fathers of Asean. I was inspired by them as a young man. He spoke of very dark days in Southeast Asia.

“Differences will be overcome,” he predicted, “through a maximum of goodwill and understanding, faith and realism but it will need’ he added ‘a lot of hard work, patience and determination’. And I think they were very wise words and they very much apply to our meeting today”.

Following the conference, His Royal Highness held a bilateral meeting with the Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, in which all areas of cooperation between Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia in the coming year were discussed. - Borneo Bulletin (2 March 2014)