SOCHI, May 21. /TASS/. The Russia-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Nations) summit in Sochi was a political milestone, Thailand’s independent expert Paradorn Rangsimaporn told TASS on Saturday.
"I personally think it was a relative success. The very fact of having such a summit for the first time on Russian soil is a political milestone in itself," Rangsimaporn said. "All the planned documents were adopted, namely the Sochi Declaration and the Comprehensive Plan of Action to Promote ASEAN-Russia Cooperation for 2016-2020, while the Report of the ASEAN-Russia Eminent Persons Group was also presented," he added.
"The summit has set out the agenda and priorities for promoting and strengthening further ASEAN-Russia cooperation for the next five years in all spheres of mutual interests be they political and security, economic, and socio-cultural. Importantly, cooperation on connectivity and the possibility of greater economic integration between ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) was also discussed and explored," the expert noted.
"What remains to be seen and must be focused upon now is whether these words would be translated into action. It's therefore important to note that the Sochi Declaration has a section on the implementation of these documents adopted at the summit," Rangsimaporn said adding that he hopes that "such implementation would be fully realized in the years to come for our mutual benefits."
The summit of Russia and the member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was held in Sochi on May 19-20 and became 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 was held under the slogan "Towards Strategic Partnership for the Sake of the Common Good."
The summit adopted 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.