SOCHI, May 20. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a summit on Friday with the leaders of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states. This meeting, marking the 20th anniversary of the Russia - ASEAN dialogue partnership and for the first time organized in Russia, will be held under the motto "Towards Strategic Partnership for the Sake of the Common Good".
Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said that the summit aims to summarize the results of Russia - ASEAN interaction over two decades, as well as outline the guidelines for bringing it to a new level.
"It is planned to fix the main decisions of the summit in the Sochi Declaration and the Comprehensive Action Plan for the development of cooperation in 2016-2020, which is a roadmap of medium-term measures to promote cooperation in various fields," he said.
The forum participants’ contacts started on Thursday. In the evening, Putin gave a gala reception in Krasnaya Polyana for distinguished guests, opening the summit in an informal atmosphere. In addition, he devoted the whole day to bilateral talks with the heads of all delegations who arrived in Sochi.
On Friday, the leaders will gather for the plenary session of the summit at the Radisson Hotel in the Olympic Park. Later, the consultations’ participants will have an opportunity to continue the discussion of the agenda at a working breakfast.
In accordance with tradition of such international forums, the meeting participants will pose for a group photo.
Ushakov said that the Russia - ASEAN Business Forum is timed to coincide with the leaders’ meeting. The Business Forum is aimed at expanding contacts between entrepreneurs and looking for promising projects of trade-economic and investment cooperation. The delegations’ heads will also talk briefly on Friday with the event participants.
The work results will be summarized at the final news conference by Vladimir Putin at the summit host, as well as Prime Minister of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith, who holds the ASEAN rotating presidency this year.
Ushakov named among the main topics of the summit the global and regional agenda issues, the results of Russia-ASEAN cooperation over 20 years, as well as the main promising cooperation spheres. During a working breakfast it is planned to discuss issues of integration in Eurasia and the Asia-Pacific region, namely the prospects for linking integration processes in Eurasia and Southeast Asia.
"Cooperation in the sphere of politics and security is among priorities of the dialogue partnership", Ushakov said. In his view, "the common key task is to build in the Asia-Pacific region a new, open and transparent architecture of interstate relations based on equality, collective principles, respect for the legitimate interests of all the region’s states."
The Kremlin official said that cooperation in combating global and regional threats - terrorism and transnational crime, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, drug trafficking, is also expanding. "Russia supports the strengthening of the ASEAN law enforcement potential, including through the mechanisms of training of specialized personnel," he said.
Considerable attention at the summit will be paid to boosting cooperation in the trade-economic and investment spheres. According to the presidential aide, "Owing to the consistent implementation of Russian-ASEAN programs of cooperation, the spectrum of its areas is expanding further, creating conditions for the restoration of the dynamics of mutual trade." "The sides seek to deepen cooperation in the spheres of energy, transport, infrastructure, agriculture, information and communication technology, space exploration and others", he said.
Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that "this region that has a vast potential is of great interest to Russia, and Russia is also of interest to ASEAN." "It is this common interest that formed the basis of the dialogue that began 20 years ago," he said. "This is the first held in the territory of Russia". "We hope that it will be successful", Peskov said.
According to him, Russia is seriously interested in all the three dimensions in which the integration processes are underway in ASEAN: the "policy and security" dimension, "the economy" dimension and also the socio-cultural dimension. "Contacts will take place on all the three dimensions, detailed discussions will be held both within the framework of the general session and in the context of bilateral talks", said the Kremlin official.
Linking integration processes
Questions related to acceleration of integration processes in the Eurasian space and in the Asia-Pacific region, active participants in which are Russia and ASEAN, will be high on the agenda at Friday’s consultations. "In these circumstances, the task of linking our integration projects in order to ensure the common economic growth is becoming particularly important," Ushakov said. According to him, this work is already being carried out with individual ASEAN member states, Vietnam, in particular, the applications of a number of other countries are being considered. "This opens up prospects for the future formalizing of preferential relations between the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union) and ASEAN as a whole", Ushakov said.
"Such broad economic partnership should be built on the basis of the universal principles of the international trade system - openness, transparency, respect for the interests of each economy, common non-discriminatory conditions for all the participants", the Russian presidential aide said.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations was established on August 8, 1967. 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 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.