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Asia, Europe Should Cement Cooperation To Narrow Development Gap: Laos

Source: Vientiane Times

Asia and Europe should strengthen cooperation to narrow the development gap that remains wide, Laos has told the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem12) in Brussels, Belgium.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith led a Lao delegation attending the meeting under the theme “Global Partners for Global Challenges” that took place on October 18-19.

In his speech delivered at the gathering, the Lao minister said Asem should intensively increase cooperation, particularly in the field of connectivity to narrow the development gap among the member countries, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Minister Saleumxay said strengthening cooperation was significant given there were many cooperative initiatives that have not yet been fully realised.

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During the meeting, the Asem leaders expressed their resolve to work together for peace, security, sustainable development and prosperity.

They highlighted the vital need of maintaining an open world economy and upholding the rules-based multilateral trading system, according to the Asem Chair’s Statement.

The meeting was attended by the Heads of State and Government or their high-level representatives of 51 Asian and European countries, the President of the European Commission and the Secretary-General of Association of Southeast Asia Nations (Asean).

The leaders stressed their commitment to comply with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, cooperating on rendering its dispute settlement system more effective, and redoubling on-going efforts aimed at WTO reform.

They emphasised their commitment to implement fully the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals.

Leaders underlined the link between Asean connectivity, the shared interest of all Asem partners in strengthening Europe-Asia sustainable connectivity across Asem’s three pillars, as a means of bringing countries, people and societies closer together.
Leaders agreed to work together to tackle growing threats to the environment and acknowledged the need to act in an ambitious and concerted manner to better ensure its protection.

They reiterated that gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are crucial to sustainable development and must be mainstreamed in all Asem’s three pillars – political, economic and financial, social-cultural.

The meeting underlined that the development of inter-Korean relations, the complete denuclearisation of, and the peace regime on the Korean Peninsula are important for peace, security and stability, not only in East Asia but also for the entire world, the Chair Statement stated.

With regard to Iran, leaders reiterated their collective support for diplomatic dialogue and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action endorsed by the UN Security Council, which is working and delivering on its goal to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.

The meeting committed to enhancing Asem cooperation on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), and digital connectivity.

Given migration flows represent a global challenge the leaders underlined the need for multilevel responses to the issue.

Leaders stressed the importance of finding a comprehensive and durable solution to address the root causes of the conflict in Rakhine State and commended Bangladesh for sheltering displaced persons.

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They reaffirmed their commitment to maintain peace and stability and to ensure maritime security and safety, freedom of navigation and overflight and to combat piracy in full compliance with international law.

Leaders emphasised the positive role that Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) can bring to promoting balanced and inclusive growth, innovation and an economy based on low greenhouse gas emissions.

The meeting underlined the importance of sustainable tourism as a catalyst for people-to-people connectivity, economic cooperation and quality job creation.