EU Ambassador to ASEAN appreciates Vietnam’s efforts to host AMM 53, related meetings

Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Igor Driesmans has appreciated Vietnam’s efforts in hosting the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting and related meetings amid unprecedented challenges.
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Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh chairs the 53rd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting. (Photo: Nhan Dan)

In an interview recently granted to Vietnam News Agency correspondents following the closing of the ministerial meetings, Ambassador Driesmans said: "Vietnam has successfully managed to host a series of important ministerial meetings this year amid unprecedented challenges”.

The 27th ARF and the ASEAN-EU Post-Ministerial Conference took place at a time when Europe, Southeast Asia, and the entire global community are facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking into account the fact that the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) membership spans four continents and multiple time zones, the ambassador expressed his praise that the technical and logistical aspects of this undertaking are impressive.

The fact that both meetings were successfully held serves as an important reminder about the value that all participants see in a multilateral approach to solving problems and enhanced cooperation at a time of great uncertainty, he added.

This joint effort is reflected in the “ARF Statement on Infectious Disease Outbreaks”, which was endorsed by all participants and calls, among others, for enhanced regional and international solidarity and cooperation in addressing the current pandemic and preventing future outbreaks.

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Delegates from all participant countries of AMM 53. (Photo: TTXVN)

It was the first time since the start of his mandate that EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell participated in the ASEAN-EU Post-Ministerial Conference, Driesmans said, assessing in what turned out to be a very fruitful meeting, both sides took stock of the width and depth of EU-ASEAN relations ranging from countering transnational crime, maritime security, human rights, sustainable development and smart cities to trade, education, connectivity, cybersecurity, and narrowing the development gap.

“Our key message is that the European Union continues to be a reliable, trustworthy, and predictable partner of the region, Nhan Dan quoted the EU ambassador.

In addition to responding to the COVID-19 crisis and providing EUR800 million of Team Europe support to ASEAN countries, the EU emphasized the importance of looking ahead. Ambassador Driesmans reaffirmed that EU bloc will continue to support ASEAN’s efforts to achieve a prosperous, safe and united community, as this brings lasting benefits to both regions. The EU is willing and able to deepen cooperation with ASEAN to ensure that both sides are able to use the existing opportunities to the fullest possible extent.

He added the EU noted the recent developments in the Bien Dong/ South China Sea and as a staunch believer in international law and peaceful resolutions of conflicts, encouraged further progress in the negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the East Sea. “We look forward to its early conclusion in line with international law, particularly the 1982 UNCLOS.”, Nhandan reported.

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Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to ASEAN Igor Driesmans. (Photo: Dan Tri)

Commenting on Vietnam’s role as the Chair of ASEAN 2020 through its performances achieved from the beginning of the year, the diplomat said Vietnam has successfully managed to host a series of important ministerial meetings this year amid unprecedented challenges.

“While we have turned mostly online for now, we have been able over the past few months to maintain a good momentum in strengthening EU-ASEAN relations and reinforcing their strategic nature,” he emphasized.

Vietnam’s focus on strengthening a cohesive and proactive ASEAN cannot be more relevant than it is today when the pandemic has provoked a global economic shock unlike any other in recent history. Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship has successfully upheld the spirit of solidarity, cooperation and the sense of responsibility towards the international community since the early days of this crisis.

Under the leadership of Vietnam, ASEAN has shown a real willingness to come together to find regional solutions and to mitigate the effects of this crisis, as illustrated by the Special ASEAN Summit on the Coronavirus Disease in April, he affirmed.

Ambassador Driesmans held that Vietnam has also been able to reaffirm the centrality and unity of ASEAN by maintaining the regular, substantive engagement between the region and its partners since the outbreak of the pandemic.

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