Euro-Asia consensus to promote balanced development, fair global order

Published : 21 Nov 2017, 17:27

Sahos Desk

Asian and European countries have emphasised the need for closer engagement towards a stronger and more dynamic partnership in the process of addressing global issues and the creation of a favourable environment for a stronger, more sustainable and balanced development.

The Foreign Ministers of Asia and Europe have underscored their firm commitment to promote and develop a stronger, more effective and fair international system with the United Nations at its core and effective multilateral institutions for cooperation.

They exchanged views on the importance of addressing the human rights situation and humanitarian concerns of the international community, including the abductions issue.

They reached the consensus at the13th ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting (ASEM FMM13) held on 20-21 November.

The Meeting was hosted and chaired by Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. 

The Meeting was attended by Foreign Ministers/ High-level Representatives of 51 Asian and European countries, and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Ministers recognised that Asia and Europe have strong, mutual interest in enhancing connectivity between the two regions to foster economic growth and bring countries, societies and people closer, according to the 36-point joint declaration a copy of which UNB obtained on Tuesday. 

Ministers recognised the development of national, regional and global initiatives in Asia and Europe strengthening transport connectivity and facilitation such as the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, the EU Infrastructure Investment Plan, the Eurasian Economic Union, Expanded Partnership for Quality Infrastructure, the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and the Economic Corridor Programmes among ASEM partners.

Ministers welcomed the outcomes of the 4th ASEM Transport Ministers’ Meeting held in Bali, Indonesia in September 2017, which stressed the need to improve transport connectivity in Asia and Europe through integrated intermodal and multimodal transport system and infrastructure, in order to facilitate greater movement of goods, services, people and investment. 

They supported stronger cooperation among ASEM partners to improve the quality, reliability, sustainability, and resilience of all transport systems.

They recognised the call to introduce strategic plans for development and enhancement of transport corridors and routes between Asia and Europe. 

Ministers also shared the view that they would effectively utilise digital connectivity in enhancing closer social and economic ties between Asia and Europe. 

They noted the role of the ASEM Trans Eurasia Information Network (TEIN) as a pilot platform for enhancing the digital connectivity in the ASEM region and ASEM High-level Forum on Digital Connectivity to improve the potentials of digital connectivity for innovative growth. 

Ministers acknowledged tourism as a catalyst for intensifying people-to-people connectivity.

They called for further promotion of sustainable and inclusive tourism across two continents, including conservation and management of the cultural and natural heritage. 

They also encouraged further travel facilitations including smart traveller programmes, to materialize responsible tourism. 

Ministers recalled ASEM’s objective to promote cultural diversity and cooperation in fostering closer people-to-people contacts, and supported the regular networking platforms among cultural professionals. 

They appreciated the Asia-Europe Foundation’s (ASEF) unique role in promoting people-to-people connectivity, and its efforts to facilitate inter-regional exchange and cooperation in arts and culture by providing platforms for information, dialogue, networking, and partnerships among artists and cultural professionals from across all ASEM countries. 

Ministers recognised ASEM education framework as an indispensable platform that connects peoples of Asia and Europe, particularly youths, scholars and educational institutions.

They also underscored the need to accelerate collaboration in all levels of education especially in vocational education, on-job trainings, and human resource for youth empowerment.

The meeting, convened under the over-arching theme: “Strengthening Partnership for Peace and Sustainable Development”, provided the opportunity for ASEM partners to exchange views on relevant issues of common interests and explored most effective and efficient ways to create a stronger partnership between Asia and Europe for a future of shared, inclusive and sustainable growth and prosperity.

Ministers held fruitful discussions on a wide range of regional and international issues as well as global challenges. Ministers reaffirmed ASEM’s cardinal values of equal partnership, mutual respect and mutual benefit. 

Ministers emphasised the importance of mutual respect, fairness, justice and cooperation for mutual benefit to safeguard international and regional peace and stability. They committed to uphold a fair and equitable international order, the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, and respect for international law, promoting democracy and the rule of law in international relations, and making joint efforts to address common traditional and non-traditional security challenges, so as to build a bright, shared future for ASEM partnership. 

Ministers reiterated their views that terrorism constitutes a serious threat to international peace, security, stability and development, and expressed their determination to countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism in all their forms and manifestations in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations and relevant Conventions and Protocols, in particular human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law. 

Strongly condemning terrorist attacks including destruction of cultural heritage, they stressed the need to work together to counter terrorism, eliminate conditions conducive to the growth and spread of violent extremism and radicalization in societies leading towards violence, as well as the rising phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters as described in the UNSC Resolution 2178. 

They also emphasised the need for a comprehensive approach in countering terrorism and violent extremism, without associating them with any religion, nationality, civilisation or ethnic group.

Reaffirming their resolve to combat terror financing as well as abuse of Internet by terrorist groups, they also stressed the importance of preventing chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism, and controlling trade in and flows of conventional arms. 

They called for strengthening the international legal regime, including through substantive progress in the ongoing negotiations on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations.

They took note of the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. 

Ministers recognised the importance of moderation as an approach that can bridge differences and counter all forms of extremism by promoting dialogue, mutual respect, tolerance and understanding, thereby contributing to peace and security. 

To this end, the Ministers expressed their support for the moderation approach as espoused among others, in particular by the Global Movement of Moderates. 

Ministers pledged to continue to uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and their universality, promoting disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction through, among others, the establishment of nuclear weapon free zones on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at the States concerned in accordance with the 1999 UNDC guidelines. 

Source: unb

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