ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh Visits Russia

ASEAN SG in MoscowSaint Petersburg/Moscow – Secretary-General of ASEAN, Le Luong Minh paid an official visit to the Russian Federation from 1 – 4 July at the invitation of H.E. Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

During the visit, SG Minh held meetings with Minister Lavrov and Igor Margulov, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs;  Alexey Ulyukaev, Minister for  Economic Development; Vladimir Puchkov, Minister  for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of the Consequences of Natural Disasters; Vladimir Medinskiy, Minister for  Culture; and Veniamin Kaganov, Deputy Minister for Education and Science. He also met with Nikolay Levichev, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma.

SG Minh and the high-ranking officials of Russia discussed a wide range of issues pertaining to ASEAN-Russia cooperation, as well as regional and international issues of mutual interests and concern. The Russian officials expressed their strong commitment to further deepening and broadening cooperation with ASEAN.  

Both sides noted that the Joint Declaration of the Heads of State/Government of the Member Countries of ASEAN and the Russian Federation on Progressive and Comprehensive Partnership, signed at the first ASEAN-Russia Summit in December 2005 in Kuala Lumpur, has served as the strong foundation for promoting and strengthening ASEAN-Russia Dialogue partnership in a wide range of areas including political and security, economic and development cooperation. They acknowledged that there remain vast potentials on both sides to be tapped to further enhance and strengthen the partnership and cooperation.

Russia expressed its continued support for ASEAN’s central role in regional mechanisms and pledged to effectively implement the Comprehensive Programme of Actions (CPA) to Promote Cooperation between ASEAN and the Russian Federation 2005-2015. ASEAN and Russia will begin deliberation on the new phase of a comprehensive plan of action to replace the current CPA, which will expire by the end of 2015. The new plan of action will aim to  further broaden and deepen ASEAN-Russia Dialogue partnership.

Russia expressed its strong interest and commitment to support the Master Plan of ASEAN Connectivity, particularly programmes and projects to strengthen physical linkages. In addition, Russia will work with ASEAN to further improving the volume of trade and investment between the two sides, particularly through trade and investment facilitation measures.

The high-ranking officials of Russia reassured ASEAN that Russia will continue to play a constructive role to contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in the region. SG Minh expressed ASEAN’s strong desire to find new and sustained ways and means to build upon past achievements to further strengthen and deepen its relations with Russia in order to add necessary substance to the Comprehensive Partnership. As ASEAN and Russia will mark the 20th anniversary of their partnership in 2016, SG Minh and the Russian officials shared the need for ASEAN and Russia to work closely to make the third decade of the Comprehensive Partnership a new phase that will bring greater benefits to the peoples of ASEAN and Russia.

The officials also touched on the possibility of convening a third ASEAN-Russia Summit and emphasised that both sides need to ensure substantive deliverables for such a Summit to be meaningful.

SG Minh and the high-ranking officials of Russia exchanged views and discussed cooperation, among others, in the fields of trade and investment, connectivity, education, science and technology cooperation, disaster management, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges.

As part of his visit to Russia, SG Minh visited the ASEAN Centre in Moscow located at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). He met with the Director of the Centre, Dr. Victor Sumsky and had interactive discussions with scholars of MGIMO.

Further, SG Minh visited the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) in Moscow and had discussion with Viktor Khristenko, Chairman of the Board of the EEC. He also met with the Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Dmitry Mezentsev.   

While in Russia, SG Minh spoke at the opening of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) High-Level Conference on Intercultural and Inter-Religious Dialogue which was held on 3 July in Saint Petersburg, where he met with the Governor of Saint Petersburg, Georgy Poltavchenko. The Governor expressed Saint Petersburg’s strong interest to engage cities of ASEAN in economic and cultural cooperation in areas of their respective advantages.

Photo: Secretary-General of ASEAN, Le Luong Minh and Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.