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April 2012
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AKP Phnom Penh, April 2, 2012 –

The ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) is expected to be officially launched during Cambodia’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2012, according to a press release from the ASEAN General Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, on the outcomes of the 3rd Meeting of the ASEAN SOM Working Group on the Establishment of an AIPR.

The Meeting, held on Mar. 30, had an extensive discussion on the modalities of the AIPR and further revised the Proposed Outline Structure of the Terms of Reference of the AIPR, it said.

The meeting was chaired by Mr. Nong Sakal, Deputy Director-General of the General Department of ASEAN, it pointed out.

The First and Second Meetings of the ASEAN SOM WG on AIPR were held in Siem Reap, on Jan. 11 , 2012, and in Ha Noi, on Feb. 29, 2012, respectively.

ASEAN SOM WG was mandated to prepare the modalities for the operationalization of the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation and to submit the modalities for adoption by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers.

The 4th Meeting of the ASEAN SOM WG on AIPR will be convened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on April 9-11, 2012, said the press release.
Report of the 3rd Meeting of the ASEAN SOM Working Group on COC Adopted
The 4th Meeting of the Working Group of the ASEAN SOM on the Regional Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea held here on Mar. 30 adopted the report of the 3rd Meeting of the ASEAN SOM Working Group on COC, convened in Viet Nam, last month.

According to a press release of the ASEAN General Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, the meeting also exchanged views on the possible key elements for the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

The meeting was chaired by Mr. Nong Sakal, Deputy Director-General of the General Department of ASEAN, it said.

The next Meeting of the Working Group of the ASEAN SOM on COC will be held in Kuala Lumpur, on April 9-11, 2012, indicated the press release.

The Preparatory Meeting of the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (Prep-SOM) was successfully convened at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, from Mar. 31 to April 1 under the chairmanship of H.E. Dr. Soeung Rathchavy, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and ASEAN SOM Leader of Cambodia.

During the Meeting, the ASEAN SOM Leaders had a productive discussion on a number of issues, in particular the preparations for the 20th ASEAN Summit, said a press release of the ASEAN General Department, Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The Meeting also focused on the preparations for 10th Meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Council (10th ACC), the 7th Meeting of the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) Council, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM), and the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), it added.

In addition, the Meeting also deliberated on other issues, such as the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), the establishment of the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR), ASEAN Connectivity, and the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) Treaty, etc.
-Cambodia Holds the AMM with AICHR This Morning
AKP Phnom Penh, April 2, 2012 –

The ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) with ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) is going to be held here this morning at the Peace Palace.

The Meeting will be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation H.E. Hor Namhong, according to a press release from the ASEAN General Department, Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The Meeting will discuss the Progress Report on the Drafting of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration.
-Myanmar Voters Begin Its By-election on Sunday to Compete for the Vacant Seats

AKP Phnom Penh, April 2, 2012 –

Myanmar’s voters began casting their ballots on Sunday in a free atmosphere to compete for the 45 vacant seats by lawmakers, a move that marked an important milestone in the country’s transition to the path of democracy. But the people said they want more than that which is social development.

More than 6 million voters from all walks of life were seen lined up and casting their ballots one after another in Yangon to select 45 representatives for national and regional hluttaws (houses) from a pool of more than 150 candidates.

Nearly 200 observers—including from the ten-country bloc of ASEAN, EU, Canada, and others as well as reporters—are freely allowed to witness and cover the event for the first time in 22 years.

The by-election is participated by all 17 political parties including the country’s leading opposition party, National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, to compete for the 45 vacant seats as a result of ministers and deputy ministers have taken up positions in the government. Myanmar’s parliament has a total of 659 seats.

The by-election is different from both Myanmar’s elections in 1990 and 2010, meaning that the April 1, 2012 by-election is not a nationwide pool.

The head of ASEAN Chair observation delegation Chheang Vun, after observing four polling sites, told reporters that “this by-election is so meaningful for ASEAN.”

“If the by-election goes smoothly, several countries must accept that Myanmar is moving on the right path of democracy,” he said.

Cambodian MP Chheang Vun, who met and talked to Aung San yesterday evening where she met her supporters outside of Yangon, quoted her as saying that “the by-election process is good so far but it is too early to say the whole process until it is over.”

“As ASEAN Chair we are pleased with what Aung San is saying now,” said Chheang Vun, who is also the chairman of foreign affairs and international cooperation and information commission of Cambodia’s National Assembly.

“The by-election can provide a boost to peace process and democracy in Myanmar,” said the ASEAN’s Chair observation delegation from Cambodia.

Both the Myanmar’s ruling party and oppositions have said along that they want national reconciliations and put their country’s interests above them.

In response to Cambodian journalist, Aung San Suu Kyi said “for Myanmar as I have said along that it is another step moving forward to democracy, but it is an opportunity for ASEAN countries to address a real reform of Myanmar in the near future.”

“And, of course, any victory of the country is also the victory of Myanmar’s people,” the Nobel Laureate told reporters.

NLD chair Aung San Suu Kyi added that the poverty alleviation through job creations, and improving education standards, and public health services are sitting on her party’s agendas.

The Myanmar Times reported that the National Assembly, better known for local as Hluttaw, is ready to welcome the NLD and elected MPs should encourage the NLD to “put aside personal or ideological differences for the good of the country.”

Some analysts said it is too early to say that the parliament will be better than before if the NLD will be in it, but it is sure that there will be more interactive when NLD comes in.

Another analyst, however, viewed that the strength of democratic forces will improve relations between Myanmar’s parliament and the international community.

A 67-year-old voter Ebrahim said it is the first ever that he has chance to vote in 22 years, saying that the by-election is meaningful for his people.

“We are going to vote with peace of mind. This is a good election, but it is not enough, I want to see more jobs available,” he said.

“I hope more tourists and investments will come to my country so that the local people will have more opportunities,” Ebrahim said.

Another 41-year-old woman Phya Pyar Naing said that this is her second vote since last election in Nov. 7, 2010.
“Just democracy itself is not enough. We want better education, health care, and other improving social sectors as well.”

Another 70-year-old housewife Dawsan Nwe said outside the polling station that “this is a good chance to give my voice to which party I support.”
“It is free voting here but I am not sure with other places,” said Nwe.

An EU observer, who wishes not to be named, said that “we are just watching it and we will analyze the whole election process at a later date.”

The one-day by-election vote is to close at 4 P.M local time and followed by counting ballots and an official result would be expected sometime.

By Ek Tha

JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT OF THE ELEVENTH AEM-EU TRADE COMMISSIONER CONSUL TATION

AKP Phnom Penh, April 2, 2012 –
AKP Phnom Penh, April 1, 2012 –

The Agreement on Hosting and Granting Privileges and Immunities to the ASEAN Secretariat between the Government of Indonesia and ASEAN and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and ASEAN are scheduled to be signed on the sidelines of the 20th ASEAN Summit, according to a press release of the ASEAN General Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The drafts of agreement and MoU were finalized by the 6th Meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR) held here on Saturday at the Peace Palace under the chairmanship of H.E. Kan Pharidh, Ambassador of Cambodia to Indonesia and Permanent Representative of Cambodia to ASEAN, said the press release.

In the meeting, the participants also discussed on the Request for the Establishment of a Formal Relationship between ASEAN and Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), ASEAN-UNICEF Framework for Cooperation, and the Operations of ASEAN Secretariat.

The meeting was attended by Permanent Representatives of Indonesia, Loa PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, Acting Permanent Representative of Myanmar and representative of Brunei as well as Deputy Secretaries-General of ASEAN.
-2nd ASEAN-EU Business Summit Kicks Off in Phnom Penh
AKP Phnom Penh, April 1, 2012 –

The 2nd ASEAN-EU Business Summit kicked off here this morning under the chairmanship of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia to boost trade and investment between the two blocs.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Samdech Techo Hun Sen encouraged the private sector, investors, and the governments in the two blocs to further cooperate for more progress on business and investment under the trade framework between ASEAN and the European Union.

Samdech Techo said ASEAN see the European Union as a strategic partner in all fields, especially trade, business, tourism and investment. The European Union has become the ASEAN’s largest investor and the ASEAN’s second largest trading partner after China.

“The ASEAN’s economic growth this year is expected to reach 4.5 percent, with almost 600 millions of population. ASEAN has a political stability and huge potentials in natural resources, therefore it would become a market that provided opportunities for investments in agriculture and industries,” he said.

Addressing to the delegates at the ASEAN-EU Business Summit, H.E. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN, said the 10 members of ASEAN remain vulnerable to problems in rich countries and must work with the EU to bolster their economy.

According to ASEAN secretary-general, in 2010, the EU continues to be the ASEAN’s largest source of foreign direct investments, and stood at US$17 billion and expected the same amount in 2011, he said.

“This is an opportunity to further develop, deepen and widen the economic engagement of the two regions,” he said.

Oknha Kith Meng, President of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce said it is a great event to bring the EU and ASEAN businessmen to further understand their mutual potential.

“It is an importance of increasingly strong relations between the EU and ASEAN by showcasing new initiatives and opportunities,” he said.
Mr. Karel De Gucht, EU Commissioner for Trade, said the EU saw ASEAN as an important trade and investment partner and a new emerging market. The EU is committed to increase its engagement with the new emerging market to boost trade and growth.

The summit attracted some 500 participants from different sectors of the two blocs.

ASEAN members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, while the EU is composed of 27 countries.

Cambodia, China Reach Ten Agreements

AKP Phnom Penh, April 1, 2012 –

Cambodia and China yesterday reached ten agreements covering bilateral cooperation, trade and development assistance.

The signing ceremony was held under the presidency of Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen and visiting Chinese President H.E. Hu Jintao following their talks.

The agreements include the exchange of notes on human resource development project, the agreement on technical and economic cooperation, the exchange of notes on upgrading National Road No.7, the exchange of notes on agricultural vocational training school in Kratie province, the framework agreement on Chinese concessional loan to Cambodia on Kanghot irrigation development project-phase II between the Chinese government and the Cambodian government, the agreement on concessional loan on Kanghot irrigation development project-phase II between the Cambodian government and the Export-Import Bank of China, the agreement on National Road No.5 expansion, the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on bilateral cooperation on tourism development and investment, the agreement on loan transaction, and the agreement on joint credit for Cambodian Power Plant.

The first document was signed by H.E. Hor Namhong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia and H.E. Chen Deming, Minister of Commerce of China.

The next four agreements were signed by H.E. Keat Chhon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance of Cambodia and H.E. Cheng Deming.

The other two were inked by H.E. Keat Chhon and H.E. Li Ruogu, President of Export-Import Bank of China, while the MoU by H.E. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism of Cambodia and H.E. Wang Yongsheng, Vice President of China Development Bank.

And the last two agreements were signed by Okhna Yam Suy Sang, CEO of Union Commercial Bank PLC and H.E. Wang Yongsheng and by Oknha Mrs. Ching Sopheap, CEO of CHDG Erdos Hongjun Electricity Power Co., Ltd. and H.E. Wang Yongsheng respectively.

By KHAN Sophirom

King: Hu Jintao’s Visit Further Builds Up Cambodia-China Relationship

AKP Phnom Penh, April 1, 2012 –

The state visit of Chinese President, H.E. Hu Jintao to Cambodia is a historical visit, through which the long-lasting ties of friendship, solidarity and cooperation between the two countries and peoples will be further enhanced, His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, said here yesterday at the Peace Palace during a welcoming dinner organized in honor of the Chinese president.

The Cambodian monarch expressed profound thanks to the Chinese people and government and the Communist Party of China for their assistance and support to the reconstruction and development of Cambodia.

King Sihamoni also congratulated China on its rapid development in all fields.

For his part, Chinese president said China truly rejoiced to see Cambodia enjoy political stability, ethnic harmony, economic growth and improvement of people’s livelihood, and take a new look of growing prosperity.

He further lauded the close relationship between China and Cambodia, saying that both countries enjoy fruitful exchanges and cooperation in the political, economic, social, cultural and other fields and render each other support and close coordination in international and regional affairs.

“We are ready to join Cambodia, in the spirit of building good-neighborly relationship and partnership, in stepping up friendly exchanges, promoting the mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation with Cambodia, and enriching the substance of the China-Cambodia comprehensive and strategic partnership of cooperation, thus writing still more chapters of friendship and cooperation between the two countries,” H.E. Hu Jintao said.
H.E. Hu Jintao and his spouse, Madam Liu Yongqing arrived here on Mar. 30 for a four-day state visit at the invitation of King Sihamoni. They left here this morning for Siem Reap province, home to Angkor temples.

Cambodia and China have established their diplomatic relations since 1958.

PM Hun Sen Presides over ASEAN-EU Business Summit

AKP Phnom Penh, April 1, 2012 –
Joint Meeting of ASEAN SOM, SEOM and SOCA on ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group Held

AKP Phnom Penh, April 1, 2012 –

The 3rd Joint Meeting of the ASEAN SOM, SEOM and SOCA on the ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group (ACCWG) was held here on Mar. 31 at the Peace Palace.

The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Dr. Soeung Rathchavy, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and ASEAN SOM Leader of Cambodia.

The Meeting had finalized and endorsed the draft Terms of Reference of the ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group (TOR of the ACCWG) and recommended its submission to the 10th Meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Council for approval, according to the ASEAN General Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia

The Meeting also agreed on Indonesia’s offer to host the First Meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group (ACCWG), soon after the TOR of the ACCWG is approved by the ACC, it said.
The First and Second Meetings of the ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group were held in Phnom Penh on Mar. 5-6 and in Singapore on Mar. 13-14, respectively.

Cambodian NA President Receive Chinese President

AKP Phnom Penh, April 1, 2012 –

Cambodian National Assembly President Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin met here yesterday with visiting Chinese President H.E. Hu Jintao.

In the meeting, H.E. Hu Jintao promised to boost the bilateral trade between the two countries up to US$5 billion by 2017.

H.E. Hu Jintao also highly appreciated the ties of friendship between the two nations, hoping that they would be further consolidated and expanded on politics, economy, security and culture, as well as on legislature.

For his part, Samdech Heng Samrin highly valued the Chinese president’s visit to Cambodia, through which, he said, the fraternal relationship and cooperation between the two countries would be further enhanced.

Samdech Heng Samrin also thanked the Chinese government for its assistance to Cambodia such as granting medical care to the Cambodian King, King-Father and Queen-Mother, providing aid, promoting investments and tourism to the country and offering the training to Cambodia’s human resources.

On the same day, H.E. Hu Jintao also met with Samdech Akka Moha Thamma Pothisal Chea Sim, President of the Senate.
Cambodian Minister of Commerce To Chair the 7th Meeting of AEC Council

AKP Phnom Penh, April 1, 2012 –

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Council Ministers will meet at the Peace Palace, Phnom Penh on Monday next week for the 7th Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Community Council to discuss preparations for the 20th ASEAN Summit, to be held here on Apr. 3-4.

The meeting will be chaired by H.E. Cham Prasidh, Cambodia’s Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, according to a press release from the ASEAN General Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued on Saturday.

The Meeting will discuss the impact of the recent global developments on the region and exchange views on how ASEAN could remain resilient; the implementation of the AEC Blueprint covering Trade in Goods, Trade in Services, Investment, Customs Development and Integration, Transport Cooperation, Tourism Cooperation, and Finance and Monetary Integration, the press release said.

The Meeting will also exchange views on the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, Equitable Economic Development/Initiative for ASEAN Integration, and ASEAN Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, it added.

The issues and challenges facing ASEAN on Food and Energy Security will also be discussed at the Meeting, it said.


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