Comment by the Information and Press Department on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s participation in the Russia-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and the 24th Session of the ASEAN Regional Forum on Security
On August 6-8, in Manila (the Philippines), Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will attend annual events sponsored by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including the Russia-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, a meeting of foreign ministers of the East Asia Summit (EAS), and a session of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) on security.
The Russian side will focus on strengthening Russia’s positions in the Asia Pacific Region (APR) and advancing Russian approaches to forming an equitable regional security architecture and the Greater Eurasian Partnership.
At the meeting with ASEAN foreign ministers, the participants will discuss the implementation of decisions on promoting a strategic partnership, as approved by the Russia-ASEAN Summit in Sochi on May 19-20, 2016. The ministers are planning to adopt a roadmap on implementing the recommendations of the Russia-ASEAN Eminent Persons Group on strengthening interaction in the political, trade, economic, social and cultural areas, as approved by the leaders in Sochi.
The fight against terrorism and transnational crime holds a central place in the Russia-ASEAN dialogue. The common approaches to this issue will be reflected in a special joint statement. Possibilities are being studied to expand our assistance in strengthening the human resources potential of law enforcement agencies in all ten countries. A separate channel for antidrug cooperation has been created.
It is planned to focus on practical measures to expand trade, economic and investment cooperation and consolidate regional connectivity. There will be a review of the implementation of the Russia-ASEAN working plans in the energy, scientific, technological and agricultural areas, including the appropriate project activities. It is intended to emphasise the importance of moving towards regular contact through the business community using the Eastern Economic Forum venue in Vladivostok.
We intend to further expand cultural and humanitarian ties with ASEAN. We will be actively involved in the events dedicated to ASEAN’s 50th anniversary, including in the next university forum in Vladivostok, a youth summit, performances by the joint symphonic orchestra in the Philippines, and a festival of traditional music.
One of the main goals is strengthening the contacts between the EAEU, ASEAN and the SCO in the spirit of network diplomacy with an eye to implementing the Greater Eurasian Partnership initiative that was unanimously supported by the leaders in Sochi. In this context, it is planned to consider steps towards formalising relations between the EAEU and ASEAN and towards the practical implementation of the Memorandum of Mutual Understanding between the ASEAN and SCO Secretariats of 2005. SCO Secretary General Rashid Alimov’s participation in the events in Manila will be of fundamental importance.
The 50th anniversary of ASEAN, marked this year, is imparting special overtones to the forthcoming events. Since its creation in 1967, ASEAN has become the kernel of regional integration processes and one of the most authoritative multilateral organisations, which has been Russia’s reliable partner in ensuring stability in the APR for more than 20 years. The opening of a Russian permanent mission to ASEAN scheduled for this August in Jakarta is evidence of the importance of relations with the ten ASEAN countries.
The EAS meeting will prioritise issues related to the subject matter of the 12th East Asia Summit that the Philippines will host on November 14.
Russia regards the East Asia Summit as a key mechanism for building in the APR an open and comprehensive system of interstate relations based on the rule of international law, mutual trust, equality and indivisibility of security principles, peaceful settlement of disputes, non-interference in internal affairs, and non-use or threat of force. We are confident that the forum is capable of playing a leading role in the synergy of the existing national security initiative and in developing the uniform “rules of the game” for all countries in the region.
We think it important in this connection to continue promoting the multilateral dialogue on forming regional security architecture in the EAS venue. There were six rounds of relevant consultations: in Bandar Seri Begawan (November 2013), Moscow (April 2014), Jakarta (October 2014), Phnom Penh (July 2015), Beijing (July 2016), and Bangkok (May 2017). We intend to continue the work in this area on a permanent basis, albeit in a more advanced format, in the venue of the EAS permanent representatives to ASEAN in Jakarta with the participation of the heads of relevant departments of foreign ministries.
In light of the growing threat of international terrorism, we regard the EAS counterterror emphasis as timely. Russia and Indonesia have cosponsored a declaration on countering the spreading of terrorist ideology to be submitted for approval at the Philippines summit. We hope that this document will be widely supported by our forum partners.
We think it important to promote practical cooperation at the EAS. Participants at the ministerial meeting will consider progress of cooperation in such areas as finance, energy, healthcare, regional connectivity, education and emergency response. Apart from this, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev came up with an initiative to create within the EAS a specialised mechanism for combating infectious diseases at last year’s summit in Vientiane. The partners have accepted our initiative positively. In October of this year, we intend to hold an EAS Senior Health Officials meeting in Russia to discuss the epidemic-related threats existing in the region, measures to increase the efficiency of combating these threats, and prospects for institutionalising cooperation in this area.
The ASEAN Regional Forum on security (ARF) that includes the ten ASEAN members, their dialogue partners and some other countries is one of the pillars of the emerging security and cooperation architecture in the Asia Pacific Region and plays an important role in practical interaction for maintaining peace and stability.
The forum focuses on developing confidence-building and preventive diplomacy measures, counteraction to terrorism and organised crime, disarmament and non-proliferation of mass-destruction weapons, maritime security and emergency response. Russia is actively involved in the ARF work in all these areas, making an important contribution thereto.
The participants in the ARF session will pay special attention to countering other new challenges. It is planned to adopt statements on combating drugs and countering illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
The participants will hold a detailed exchange of views on the most pressing international and regional problems, including the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the developments in Syria, and Middle East settlement.