KUALA LUMPUR – ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) members should translate their mutual trust and understanding into actions that can effectively respond to the needs of the people in the region.
In making the call, Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said they should do so while being mindful of the substantially more complex security challenges than ever before.
“This is the path forward for the ARF to become a more strategic and action-oriented platform, and at the same time continue to be relevant in light of the on-going discussion on regional architecture,” he said.
Anifah was addressing today’s opening of the 22nd ARF convened here in conjunction with the 48th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Post-Ministerial Conferences and Related Meetings under Malaysia’s 2015 chairmanship of ASEAN.
The minister said that after 22 years of inception, the ARF continued to make tremendous progress and was now a proven multilateral platform to foster constructive dialogue and consultation on political and security issues of common interest and concern.
Anifah noted the significant progress that had been achieved in moving the ARF process – from ‘Confidence Building Measures’ under stage 1 to ‘Preventive Diplomacy’ in stage 2, and in time, ‘Conflict Resolution’ under stage 3.
“The success of the ARF can only be attributed to the continued support of all participating countries to ensure the successful implementation of the Hanoi Plan of Action to implement the ARF Vision Statement, as well other current work plans in support of ARF priority areas,” he said.
As ARF chairman, he said, Malaysia hoped ARF would continue to serve as a vehicle for promoting regional peace and stability.
Anifah told the gathering at the Putra World Trade Centre that the presence of the ministers from participating countries was a powerful testimony to the importance attached to regional peace and security.
He encouraged frank discussion and exchange of views on regional and international issues of common interests and concerns, as well as on how to chart the future direction of the ARF process.
The ARF is a prominent Asia Pacific Forum for promoting open dialogue on political and security cooperation in the region.
ARF’S 27 participants are the 10-member ASEAN as well as Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, North Korea, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste and the United States.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. – BERNAMA