Comment by the Information and Press Department regarding Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s participation in the Russia-ASEAN ministerial meeting, the Foreign Ministers’ meeting of the East Asia Summit member countries and the ASEAN Regional Forum on Security

1485-04-08-2015

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On August 5-6, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will take part in a series of annual meetings held by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Russian delegation will focus on further strengthening our country’s position in the Asia-Pacific region, and promoting bilateral and multilateral cooperation designed to form a balanced, fair and modern system of international relations in the Asia-Pacific region.

1. The foreign ministers will use the Russia-ASEAN meeting to discuss the state and prospects of the dialogue partnership, which will mark its 20th anniversary in 2016. In preparation for this important date, the forum participants will discuss deepening political dialogue between Russia and ASEAN in order to ensure regional security and stability and to promote cooperation in combating new challenges and threats. The ministers will exchange views on pressing global and regional issues, including the Islamic State terrorist group, which has stepped up its activities, the non-proliferation of WMD and the Korean Peninsula nuclear problem, among other issues. Particular emphasis will be placed on promoting economic relations as part of the dialogue partnership, implementing Russia’s proposals to build up trade and mutual investment, improving the regional transport and energy infrastructure, as well as implementing joint projects in the sphere of research and technology, energy, education and tourism.

An important area of the dialogue between Russia and the Big Ten includes expanding people-to-people cultural ties and contacts. The Russia-ASEAN Agreement on Cultural Cooperation entered into force this year. In October, Vladivostok will host the Third Russia-ASEAN Youth Summit. In November, Kuala Lumpur will host a performance by a youth symphony orchestra on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit. A cultural cross-year between Russia and ASEAN is expected to be announced next year.

 

In connection with the 20th anniversary of the dialogue partnership, it has been proposed to draft a concept paper reflecting the strategic vision of our long-term relations. The Russian-ASEAN Wise Men Group, to be established by a decision of the ministerial meeting, will help promote this work.

The ministers will also discuss drafting a Comprehensive Action Plan to Promote Russia-ASEAN Cooperation in 2016-2020, which will be submitted for approval by the leaders of the countries participating in the forum.

2. The foreign ministers of the countries participating in the East Asia Summit (EAS) will focus on substantive issues of the 10th EAS Summit, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur on November 22. The participants will review progress in cooperation in finance, energy, emergency response, healthcare, education and interconnectedness in the Asia-Pacific region, and will discuss ways to improve the forum activities. They will also exchange views on important international and regional issues.

The results of the discussions will be included in the Presidential Statement. There are also plans to adopt a Joint Statement on a Comprehensive Action Plan to Resolve the Situation Around the Iranian Nuclear Programme in support of the Geneva agreements.

Russia considers EAS to be a key element of the transparent, open and inclusive architecture, emerging in the Asia-Pacific, of equal and indivisible security based on the rule of international law, mutual trust, peaceful settlement of disputes and non-use of force or threat of force. We are convinced that this forum is able to assume a leading role in developing rules that will be applied uniformly to all the states in the region.

In this context, we consider it important to further promote the EAS multilateral dialogue on the regional architecture. Already four rounds of consultations have been held: in Bandar Seri Begawan in November 2013; in Moscow in April 2014; in Jakarta in October 2014; and in Phnom Penh in July. We plan to continue constructive discussions of this subject with our partners, so as to be able to create, in the long term, an inclusive interstate document on regional security.

Russia hopes to achieve equal cooperation with its partners, and to promote the forum’s unifying agenda for peace, stability and sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region.

3. The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) has established itself as the primary tool of practical cooperation to strengthen security in the Asia-Pacific region and as an important pillar of the regional architecture. The agenda of ARF’s 22nd session includes strengthening confidence-building measures, preventive diplomacy, combating terrorism and organised crime, disarmament and non-proliferation of WMD, emergency response and maritime security.

The Russian side focuses heavily on cooperation to ensure safety of information and communication technology and space-related activities. As facilitators of cyber security discussions within the ARF, Russia, Malaysia and Australia, with the support of other forum participants, have come up with a relevant work plan to be adopted at the upcoming ministerial meeting. Together with China and Laos, Russia plans to hold a seminar on space security this year.

There will also be a discussion on the most pressing regional and international issues, including the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the Middle East and Afghanistan, as well as the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and others.

Following the meeting, the participants will need to approve the updated work plans for fighting terrorism and transnational crime, ensuring maritime safety and emergency response, as well as to adopt a statement on strengthening cooperation to protect and preserve the marine environment. We hope that their implementation will contribute to improving the effectiveness of responses to common threats.

Bilateral meetings between Minister Lavrov and foreign ministers of a number of Asia-Pacific nations are scheduled to be held on the sidelines of the ASEAN meetings.

 

August 4, 2015

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