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Senior ASEAN officials discuss preparations for AMM-53

Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of ASEAN SOM of Vietnam, chaired a meeting of senior ASEAN officials and a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (ExCom SEANWFZ) Treaty on September 7, as the opening activities of the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-53) and related meetings.

Participants reviewed preparations for AMM-53 and related meetings, during which ASEAN foreign ministers will discuss the building of the ASEAN Community as well as cooperation in settling and controlling the pandemic and post-pandemic recovery, along with a number of regional and international issues.

The FMs will review and sketch out orientations for ASEAN’s external relations, with consideration given to certain proposals to set up partnerships and the admission of Colombia and Cuba to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).

They will also discuss the enhancement of ASEAN’s central role, in particular the way to ensure that the bloc will continue to be the key force in the region to lead the cooperation process for peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity.

Senior ASEAN officials affirmed the significance of the SEANWFZ Treaty, which expresses the bloc’s commitment to maintaining a region free of nuclear weapons, contributing to regional security and the international community’s efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and promote nuclear disarmament and the dismantling of weapons of mass destruction.

ExCom SEANWFZ agreed to submit to the SEANWFZ Committee a number of recommendations for the effective implementation of the method of expanding the SEANWFZ Treaty. Officials welcomed SEANWFZ signatories to further strengthen cooperation with relevant international organisations, especially between the ASEAN Network of Regulatory Bodies on Atomic Energy (ASEANTOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Addressing the event, Deputy FM Dung underlined that amid COVID-19, ASEAN should stay firm in commitments and maintain solidarity in action, thus speeding up the building of the Community and successfully dealing with the pandemic as well as emerging challenges.

He hailed the contributions of countries in the process of building the Community and expanding ASEAN’s external relations, saying that at these meetings, foreign ministers of ASEAN countries will affirm ASEAN’s determination to enhance its central role, promote solidarity and cooperation, speed up successful construction of the Community, and effectively control the pandemic and boost the post-pandemic recovery.

Dung emphasised that the full participation of partners at the conference affirms ASEAN’s position and role as well as the bloc’s image in the eyes of international friends, while manifesting the determination of countries to maintain dialogues for peace, stability, and cooperation. At the end of the meeting, the senior officials agreed to submit proposals to the foreign ministers related to cooperation within ASEAN as well as between ASEAN and partners, which is reflected in many different documents from the meeting.

AMM-53 and related meetings will open on the morning of September 9 in Hanoi. Host Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will address the opening session./.