ASEM meeting to be held virtually November 25-26

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Foreign ministry Secretary of State Luy David co-chaired the ASEM-SOM meeting on July 7. FOREIGN MINISTRY

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced that the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13), which Cambodia is slated to host, will take place in November of this year via video conference.

The announcement followed the ASEM Senior Officials’ Meeting (ASEM-SOM) co-chaired by Cambodia and the EU by video conference on July 7-9.

The meetings were attended by 51 senior officials from ASEM partner countries as well as representatives from the EU, the ASEAN Secretariat and the Asia-Europe Foundation.

Luy David – secretary of state for the foreign ministry and the ASEM-SOM point person for Cambodia – officially confirmed that the ASEM13 meeting would be held virtually on November 25-26, according to the ministry’s press release on July 13.

The press statement cited Covid-19, which it said was still spreading with the emergence of new variants creating a wave of new infections in many countries around the world including Cambodia, as the reason for the move.

It said the decision was made in accordance with the recommendations of the national committee for combating Covid-19, which said a physical summit is neither safe for ASEM leaders to attend nor practical amid the ongoing outbreak.

ASEM-SOM participants have been in preliminary discussions already regarding the contents of the Phnom Penh Statement on the Post-Covid-19 Socio-Economic Recovery.

The press release said the draft statement would be one of two key outcome documents to be adopted at the ASEM13.

It said the draft statement would reflect the common goals of all ASEM leaders in ensuring an inclusive, sustainable and resilient post-Covid-19 recovery. ASEM-SOM representatives agreed to meet again this month to finalise the statement prior to the November conference.

Another key meeting to discuss the ASEM13 chair statement will be hosted by Slovenia on September 16-17.

Asian Vision Institute president Chheang Vannarith told The Post on July 13 that Cambodia is committed to contributing to the enhancement of international cooperation and partnerships in order to end the pandemic and provide mutual support in the post-pandemic recovery.

He said to “build back better and stronger” is the conventional wisdom that has been adopted by the international community, while adding that multilateralism has become even more critical for solving global issues such as the pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis.

“What Cambodia can contribute is help with building a strong international consensus by endorsing collective actions to solve global issues. In the spirit of ‘we’ and ‘can do’, Cambodia can fulfill its international responsibilities and obligations,” Vannarith said.