MOSCOW, May 16. /TASS/. Russia has become an important partner not only to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) but also countries in the region in the past 20 years, Brunei’s Ambassador to Russia Haini Hj Hashim told TASS on Monday ahead of the Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi on May 19-20.
"ASEAN and Russia maintain good political relations and ASEAN values Russia’s support on the ASEAN Centrality in handling regional affairs and for its strong commitment in maintaining regional peace and stability in Southeast Asia," the diplomat said.
"Russia actively participates in consultative meetings with ASEAN under the ASEAN-Russia dialogue relations to discuss and exchange views on political and security issues of mutual interest and concern," he continued.
"These include ministerial, senior officials and experts’ level meetings, as well as through dialogue and cooperation frameworks initiated by ASEAN, such as the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum, ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus, the Post Ministerial Conferences, Russia-ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting, the ASEAN-Russia Joint Cooperation Committee, the ASEAN-Russia Joint Planning and Management Committee, and the ASEAN-Russia Dialogue Partnership Financial Fund," Hashim noted.
"An important area where ASEAN and Russia continue to work closely is on countering terrorism and other transnational crimes," the diplomat said. "We acknowledge Russia’s wide expertise and experiences in this area, in this regard, we hope to see further close cooperation and coordination between our security and law enforcement agencies especially to stop violent extremist elements into our regions," he added.
"The ASEAN-Russia Dialogue Relation format is successful in strengthening cooperation between ASEAN member countries and Russia. ASEAN-Russia relations commitment is again shown in the renewal of the ASEAN-Russia Comprehensive Plan of Action 2016-2020 which provides the guideline for the future direction of the ASEAN-Russia cooperation to further enhance and deepen dialogue relations and in its efforts in regional economic integration and community building in all spheres of cooperation - political, economic and socio-cultural," Hashim continued. "All three, i.e. political, economic and socio-cultural, are promising areas of cooperation between ASEAN member states and Russia," he noted.
"Another promising area of cooperation that we have the potential to be further enhance is in the socio-cultural cooperation. We value the importance of cultural linkages and people-to-people contacts through music, art and festivities. In particular, we welcome the ASEAN-Russia Youth Symphony Orchestra held annually in ASEAN cities including Bandar Seri Begawan in 2013," the ambassador said.
The Russia-ASEAN summit will be held in Sochi on May 19-20 and will become the biggest international event in Russia in 2016. The summit will be held under the slogan "Towards Strategic Partnership for the Sake of the Common Good."
The summit is expected to adopt a declaration that will lay the basis for an action plan of Russia-ASEAN cooperation in the political, economic and cultural spheres, as well as in the sphere of security.
Russia has been a dialog partner of ASEAN since July 1996. Similar partnership summits are normally held on the territory of member-states and the choice of Sochi as venue for the Russia-ASEAN summit on the partnership’s 20th anniversary is symbolic.