23 July 200917:10

Outcome of 16th Session of ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)


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The 16th session of the ASEAN Regional Forum was held on July 23 in Phuket, Thailand, at the level of ministers of foreign affairs.

The ministers adopted an ARF Vision Statement reaffirming the members' commitment to further strengthening the ARF as one of the pillars of an emerging regional security architecture and setting out the main lines and concrete forms of further work on ensuring peace, stability, friendship and prosperity in the AP region.

Special attention was paid to the situation on the Korean Peninsula. The session participants called on the DPRK to strictly observe the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and to renounce all its military nuclear programs as well as the development and testing of ballistic missiles. They spoke out for the early resumption of six-party talks to resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear problem. Hope was simultaneously expressed for the display of restraint by all the parties, bearing in mind averting an arms race in Northeast Asia.

The ministers thoroughly discussed questions of broader cooperation among the ARF member countries in combating the security challenges and threats in the region. They endorsed the report of the ARF Inter-sessional Support Group on Confidence Building Measures and Preventive Diplomacy, the results of the latest activities for disaster relief and for counter-terrorism and transnational crime, and the reports of the new Inter-sessional Meetings launched by decision of the 15th ARF Session (Singapore, July 2008) – on maritime safety and on nonproliferation and disarmament. ARF work plans for the period ahead were approved.

The partners in the forum were briefed on the progress made in preparing for Russia's 2010 chairmanship in the ARF Inter-sessional Meeting on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime. It was suggested that international information security and critical infrastructure protection be made the chief topic at the meeting.

The Russian side intends to pay heightened attention to participation in the activities of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP), ARF's second track counterpart. For these purposes the membership of the Russian National Committee of the CSCAP was renewed ahead of the 16th ARF Session, with leading Russian political scientist Vyacheslav Nikonov elected as its chairman.

A Statement by the ARF Chairman was adopted at the end of the session.

July 23, 2009

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