Phnom Penh, Cambodia - Brunei Darussalam can help lead and strengthen Asean when it takes on the chairmanship of the association, and will play a vital role in helping member states work towards an Asean Community. This observation was made by Sihasak Phuangketkeow, the Permanent Secretary for Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the sidelines of the Asean Senior Officials' Preparatory Meeting yesterday.
Phuangketkeow told the Weekend Bulletin that the chairmanship is very important for Brunei in underscoring the Sultanate's role within Asean.
"It comes at a time when Asean is working towards an Asean Community" he said. "We're also facing various challenges so we hope and have expectations on the leadership role of Brunei in helping to steer and lead Asean and in strengthening Asean itself, as well as to put us in a position to deal with these emerging challenges."
He affirmed that Brunei was "definitely" capable of taking on this role, as the Sultanate "is a long-standing member of Asean, committed to Asean's unity and solidarity".
Speaking on the Asean SOM Preparatory Meeting itself, the Permanent Secretary said: "The meeting has gone well. It is the usual preparatory meeting before the summit. We have gone through all the documents to be adopted or noted by the leaders, so we're doing our job as senior officials."
Yesterday saw two meetings take place - the Asean SOM Preparatory Meeting and the Asean Senior Economic Officials' Preparatory Meeting.
The Asean Foreign Ministers' Meeting will be taking place today at the Peace Palace, followed by the 8th Meeting of the Asean Political-Security Community (APSC) Council and the Preparatory Meeting of the Asean Economic Ministers.
The 11th Meeting of the Asean Coordinating Council (ACC) will also be held, followed by a signing ceremony on "Instrument of Accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia by the Federative Republic of Brazil" and the "Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia".--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin