Waldner: “Profiting from regional diplomacy to boost political and economic cooperation”
State Secretary attends 19th EU-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Brunei
Bandar Seri Begawan, 27 April 2012 – “The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its ten member states are important partners of the European Union and the Southeast Asian markets provide excellent opportunities for the Austrian economy. In order to make our partnership with the ASEAN even more productive, we must seek dialogue and learn from each other”, Austrian State Secretary Waldner said who is attending the 19th EU-ASEAN Meeting of Foreign Ministers in Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei).
Both the Asian and European partners referred to the positive developments in Myanmar which will take over the presidency of ASEAN in 2014. “Myanmar is a role model of successful regional diplomacy and provides a concrete example of the ASEAN countries’ striving for peace and stability in the region and of the cooperation with its European partners. Nevertheless continued progress in the process of reconciliation with ethnic minorities is still required. The EU is prepared to support Myanmar in these efforts and to contribute its share to the economic development of the country”, Waldner said. Earlier this week, the EU decided to suspend the sanctions against Myanmar with the exception of the weapons embargo.
“Platforms for multilateral dialogue, such as the EU-ASEAN meeting, give us the opportunity to define measures to combat organized crime, corruption, drug and human trafficking. Vienna, as the seat of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA), has extensive expertise with regard to new threats to security”, the State Secretary concluded.
The EU-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting takes place every two years and is attended by the ten member states of ASEAN and the 27 members of the EU. This year Croatia has been invited for the first time. The meeting, chaired by the Foreign Minister of Brunei, Mohamed Bolkiah, and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, adopted the Bandar Seri Begawan Action Plan for the period 2013-2017. Objective of the Action Plan is a continued intensification of political dialogue and cooperation between Europe and Southeast Asia.
State Secretary Waldner used the meeting for numerous bilateral contacts and met for extensive talks with the foreign ministers of Vietnam, Laos and Singapore.
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