JAKARTA, August 9. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has launched the office of the country’s Permanent Mission to ASEAN in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on Wednesday.
"The launch of our Permanent Mission once again confirms that cooperation with ASEAN is our foreign policy priority as far as the Asia-Pacific region is concerned," he said at the opening ceremony, adding that "it also confirms our commitment to boost dialogue with ASEAN and take our partnership to the strategic level."
The Russian top diplomat pointed out that the mission was expected to carry out "ambitious tasks." "One of them is to ensure the effective activities of the Russia-ASEAN cooperation committee, while the second, which is no less important, is to contribute to the development of tools aimed at boosting cooperation between the permanent representatives of ASEAN members," Lavrov said. In this regard, he noted that Russia had established high-level dialogue with the ASEAN authorities, as well as with the authorities of its member states. According to Lavrov, mechanisms for regular cooperation in the energy sphere, science and agriculture were being set up.
"Another task that the mission will face is to coordinate efforts to advance sectoral projects that Russia and ASEAN agree on," the Russian foreign minister went on to say. According to him, around 20 initiatives related to various spheres, including information technologies, food security, energy, education and transport, are currently under consideration.
Lavrov was hopeful that the Russian Permanent Mission would also pay attention to the humanitarian sphere and culture. "We request Russia’s new Permanent Mission to ASEAN to facilitate contacts between the ASEAN and SCO secretariats, as well as between ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)," the Russian top diplomat concluded.
Lavrov earlier held a meeting with ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh, presenting him with a bouquet statuette. The bouquet represents rice stalks, which symbolize ASEAN, the ten ASEAN member states’ national flowers and a chamomile flower, which symbolizes Russia. The statuette will be kept at the ASEAN headquarters.