Europe and Asia to further intensify their political cooperation
State Secretary Wolfgang Waldner at the 10th ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Gödöllö
Vienna, 7 June 2011 – Every two years, the foreign ministers of the European Union meet with their colleagues from Asian states as part of the "Asia Europe Meeting" (ASEM) to discuss current political challenges. The 48 ASEM members represent approximately half the world's population and account for 60 per cent of global economic output. "Multilateral dialogue forums like ASEM significantly contribute to the collective effort to master the global challenges of the 21st century", stressed State Secretary Wolfgang Waldner at the 10th ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting in the Royal Castle of Gödöllö near Budapest on 6-7 June.
Asia and Europe are not merely close trade partners. In recent years, relations between the two world regions have developed into a community of fate: "Current flash points extending from the Arab World to Iran and to Afghanistan pose a great challenge for peace and stability in Europe and Asia. Stronger political cooperation between these two regions is indispensable. The meeting in Gödöllö provides a significant impulse in this direction", said Waldner.
The focus of this year's "Asia Europe Meeting" between foreign ministers is cooperation in coping with new security threats. In his speech before the plenary assembly, State Secretary Waldner made an urgent appeal to the foreign ministers gathered there: "We are facing serious threats in the field of nuclear proliferation, be it from Iran or North Korea. We must seize the opportunity for concrete progress within the existing multilateral mechanism on issues of disarmament and the non-proliferation of fissile material and nuclear weapons."
A new momentum was created with the historic United Nations Security Council Summit on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament in September 2009 and the adoption of an action plan as a result of the Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in May 2010. "Now the objective is to implement the NPT action plan and the resolutions for the creation of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. To achieve this, we need confidence, consensus on the common objective, and strong leadership", emphasized State Secretary Waldner.
The event also provided an opportunity for a series of bilateral contacts of the State Secretary with European and Asian colleagues. During extensive talks with the Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and Thailand, both sides acknowledged their excellent bilateral relations. A long exchange of opinions with the Secretary General of ASEAN focused on the growing importance of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the potential for cooperation with the EU.
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