Outcomes of First Day of 54th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meeting

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Prak Sokhonn, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has been attending the 54th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings, being held from Aug. 2 to 6 via videoconference.
The following is the outcomes of first day of the meetings released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation:
“On 2 August 2021, at the invitation of the Honourable Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof, Minister of Foreign Affairs II of Brunei Darussalam, His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister PRAK Sokhonn, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, attended the 54th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings via videoconference.
The Meeting discussed issues pertaining to ASEAN Community building efforts, enhancing regional integration, political and security aspects, and other pressing issues of common concern and interest to ASEAN region, including matters concerning external relations.
The Meeting welcomed the progress made on ASEAN’s deliverables for 2021, including the pursuit of a Strategic and Holistic Initiative to Link ASEAN Responses to Emergencies and Disasters (ASEAN SHIELD), the development of the Consolidated Strategy on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) for ASEAN, the promotion of practical cooperation on the Blue Economy, and the advancement in developing an ASEAN Community Vision Post-2025.
The ASEAN Member States emphasised the importance of the need to undertake collective, inclusive and resilient approach to address the immediate challenges, in particular to end the COVID-19 pandemic and to secure speedy economic recovery of the region. In this regard, the Meeting agreed to expedite the implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF) and its Implementation Plan as well as other agreed key initiatives such as the ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement with the goal of ensuring that ASEAN emerges more resilient from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to promoting regionalism and multilateralism as well as reinforcing an open, transparent, inclusive, and rules-based regional architecture with ASEAN at its centre in addressing common challenges based on mutual interests and benefits.
The Member States agreed to the accession of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Hellenic Republic, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Sultanate of Oman, the State of Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and looked forward to the signing of the instruments of accession in due course. The Meeting also deliberated on various applications of interested countries to accede to the TAC.
The Ministers exchanged views on regional and international issues of common concern and interest, including the maritime cooperation and security, the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula, the situation in the Middle East, and the developments in Myanmar, and various transboundary issues, such as cyber security. The Meeting agreed to streamline the implementation of the four strategic areas of cooperation under the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP) in ASEAN’s engagement with external partners, in particular through the framework of ASEAN Plus Three and East Asia Summit (EAS). On the follow-up to the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting on 24 April 2021, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers shared commitment to work expeditously to implement the Five-Point Consensus, particularly in starting the mission of the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair to mediate a process of dialogue and humanitarian assistance to Myanmar. They agreed to begin without delay humanitarian assistance delivery through the AHA Centre in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Myanmar.
The Ministers were also pleased to grant the status of ASEAN Sectoral Dialogue Partnership to the UAE pending completion of formalities. They also agreed to accord the United Kingdom the status of the eleventh Dialogue Partner of ASEAN. They agreed to commence a comprehensive review of the moratorium on new Dialogue Partnerships on external relations.
The Meeting looked forward to the convening of the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings to be held in the Kingdom of Cambodia in 2022.
During the Meeting H.E. Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn stressed the importance of ensuring sustainable economic recovery and growth for the region, including through the materialisation of the ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework and operationalisation of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergency and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED).
H.E. Deputy Prime Minister emphasised the importance of ensuring that ASEAN’s engagements with external partners is supportive of ASEAN Centrality and in line with ASEAN principles, including under the AOIP.
23rd ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) Council Meeting
The Meeting discussed recent political and security developments in the region and the progress of APSC Sectoral Bodies. The Meeting welcomed the progress made in implementing the APSC Blueprint 2025 in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministers also agreed to expedite the implementation of the remaining action lines under the APSC Blueprint 2025.
H.E. Deputy Prime Minister highlighted the accomplishments made by ARMAC and commended the success of its workshop on “Achieving Sustainable and Inclusive Development in Landmine/ERW Affected Countries” conducted in Siem Reap in July 2021. He also expressed appreciation to Indonesia for co-hosting this important event.
ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Interface with ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) Representatives
The Meeting endorsed the Reports on AICHR’s Priority Programmes/Activities and Proposed Budget for 2022.
The ASEAN Foreign Ministers emphasised the commitment to uphold human rights agenda, and protect and promote the fundamental freedom of the ASEAN people. The ASEAN Foreign Ministers encouraged AICHR to be more proactive in their mandate to promote and protect human rights in ASEAN, in particular in the difficult time of COVID-19 pandemic.
During the Meeting, H.E Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn highlighted that while ASEAN is grappling with COVID-19 and its severe impacts which hit the hardest on people who live in the margin, collective efforts are needed to mitigate their difficulties and keep progress in poverty reduction from sliding back. He also emphasised the necessity to differentiate between the exercise the fundamental rights and freedoms to promote harmony and human progress, and the manipulation of these sacred principles to instigate hatred, social discord, instability, and interference in the internal affairs of others. He also stressed that human rights must be understood and approached in a holistic manner without double standards, with due respect to national sovereignty and the principle of non-interference.
29th ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) Meeting
The Ministers discussed cross-sectoral matters, including the ASEAN 2021 priorities and key deliverables, and application of Timor-Leste for membership into ASEAN. The Meeting noted the progress of the ASEAN Community building process and recognised the merit of adapting to emerging challenges and opportunities. In this connection, the Ministers discussed the ways forward on how the ASEAN Community should take shape post-2025 and adopted the Terms of Reference and Roadmap for the High-Level Task Force (HLTF) on the ASEAN Community’s Post-2025 Vision.
The Ministers also discussed ways to strengthen the implementation of various regional initiatives—including the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, the establishment of the ACPHEED, the ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement, and the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework—with a view to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and address the socioeconomic impacts caused by the ongoing crisis.
On Timor-Leste’s application for ASEAN Membership, the Meeting approved the Guidelines for Timor-Leste’s participation in ASEAN Activities for Capacity Building Purposes in order to allow Timor-Leste adapt to the ASEAN-related processes. The Ministers looked forward to the early completion of the Fact Finding Missions of economic and socio-cultural community pillars to Timor-Leste.
Meeting of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) Commission
The Meeting reaffirmed the commitment to ensure that Southeast Asia remains free from nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in all forms. The State Parties expressed appreciation for the progress made in implementing the Plan of Action to Strengthen the Implementation of the Treaty on the SEANWFZ (2018-2022) despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19. They recognised the importance of continued engagement and cooperation with specialized United Nations agency such as International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to promote nuclear safety regime in Southeast Asia region.
The Meeting supported efforts to elevate the international profile of the SEANWFZ Treaty, including through the Memorandum on Activities Relating to the SEANWFZ Treaty and the ASEAN-sponsored biennial UNGA resolution on the SEANWFZ Treaty. The Meeting agreed to continue consultations to find a practical solution for the early signing of the Protocol to the SEANWFZ Treaty by the five NWS.”

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press