SOCHI, May 18 /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indonesian President Joko Widodo have held talks in a narrow format to discuss bilateral ties and the situation in the Asia-Pacific region.
"Sochi is a special place. Your president, who was our country’s great friend, stayed on a visit here exactly 60 years ago. I know that you, to some extent, consider yourself to be a successor to his policy," Putin said addressing his Indonesian counterpart.
"I am happy that during your visit [to the Russia-ASEAN summit] we have an opportunity to discuss the situation in the region and our bilateral relations," Putin said.
Putin explained that he meant the impact of global economic processes on reciprocal ties. "Our trade decreased last year. However, the trend is changing this year," he stressed.
Putin said he had nice memories of his visit to Indonesia and the atmosphere, which had been created for the Russian delegation. He expressed the hope that the Russian side would show the same kind of hospitality during the Indonesian president’s visit to Sochi.
The summit of Russia and the member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will be held in Sochi on May 19-20 and will become the biggest international event in Russia in 2016.
ASEAN comprises Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar with a total population of over 600 million people. The Association aims to develop cooperation in the economic, social, cultural and other spheres, and also strengthen peace and stability in Southeast Asia.
Russia has been a dialog partner of ASEAN since July 1996. In December 2005, the first Russia-ASEAN summit was held in Kuala Lumpur. The summit participants signed a declaration on cooperation and approved an action plan - in effect a roadmap of Russia-ASEAN interaction. 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.
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.
The gross domestic product of ASEAN member-states stands at about $3.5 trillion today and is expected to reach $4 trillion by 2020. ASEAN is becoming an increasingly attractive area for foreign investments, which grew by 16% in 2014 to over $136 billion.