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MANILA, August 8. /TASS/. Russia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed the implementation schedule of the decisions made at the May 2016 summit held in Sochi, and decided to set up an expert group to consider further cooperation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said following the ASEAN meetings in Manila.
"During the ASEAN-Russia ministerial meeting, we congratulated our counterparts on the 50th anniversary of the organization and considered the process of implementing the agreements reached at the Sochi summit in May 2016," Lavrov said. "We have approved a road map to implement the recommendations that a group of prominent figures submitted to the presidents for a review during that summit," the Russian top diplomat added.
"We have also approved a separate statement encouraging us to cooperate more actively in the fight against terrorism, adopted an action program concerning the fight against drug trafficking and confirmed our readiness to increase the number of grants that we provide to our ASEAN counterparts so that their law enforcement officers could study at the educational institutions of the Russian Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service," Lavrov pointed out.
The Russian foreign minister went on to say that during the ASEAN meetings, economic cooperation had also been discussed. "There are a lot of reserves," he said. "We have agreed more than 20 projects that are currently being prepared and will be thoroughly considered at the meeting of the economy ministers of Russia and ASEAN, scheduled to be held in September. Also in September, a dialogue between the Russian and ASEAN business circles is expected to take place on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum," Lavrov noted.
The Russian top diplomat added that a special expert group would work on the further development of relations between Russia and ASEAN. "Another result of our meeting is that we have established an academic expert group to consider our future cooperation," Lavrov said.
"Members of the ASEAN Regional Forum on security expressed interest in our initiative to take the stock of the organizations active in the Asia Pacific Region - ASEAN and its dialogue partners, the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum on security. There is also the ASEANPOL, a regional Interpol, which is a platform for active cooperation between our representatives. There is also another mechanism - meetings between defense ministers dubbed ASEAN Plus Partners, which involves our Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu," Lavrov noted.
"We have proposed that ways to establish networking relations between these bodies be considered in order to better coordinate their activities and develop ties with organizations not related to ASEAN, first and foremost, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization," the Russian top diplomat said. "In this regard, we pointed to the agreement reached between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his ASEAN counterparts in May 2016, aimed at establishing the so-called ‘wide Eurasian partnership’ through developing comprehensive ties between the members of the Eurasian Economic Union, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and ASEAN," Lavrov added.
A draft document on countering terrorist ideas, drawn up by Russia and Indonesia, will be considered at the East Asia Summit (EAS), scheduled to be held in the Philippines in November, he went on.
"It has been decided to submit a document that Russia drafted together with Indonesia to the East Asia Summit that will held in autumn here in Manila," he said. "The draft document concerns ways to counter terrorist ideas. Everybody agreed that it is a most important issue that should be thoroughly tackled," the Russian top diplomat added.
Lavrov pointed out that Moscow had been promoting a similar initiative at the United Nations platform.
"We have also decided to add issues related to the fight against infectious diseases to the EAS agenda," the Russian foreign minister said. "It was our initiative. The first meeting on this issue will be held in our country in October," he added.
Lavrov arrived in the Philippine capital of Manila on Sunday to participate in the ASEAN meetings. On Tuesday, the Russian top diplomat will head to Indonesia.