AIPA approves committee reports, three observer nations

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The 43th General Assembly of ASEAN Inter-Parliament Assembly (AIPA) is held in Phnom Penh on November 21. Heng Chivoan

The 43rd ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly General Assembly (AIPA-43) approved reports by six committees on socio-economic and political matters in the region, while three countries – Nepal, Azerbaijan and the US – have also become the observer partners of AIPA.

The approval came on November 23 at the second plenary session of the AIPA-43, which is hosted by Cambodia and slated to run through November 25, in the presence of Cambodia’s National Assembly (NA) president Heng Samrin.

Also in attendance were presidents of national assemblies (NAs) from all ASAEN member states but Malaysia and Myanmar, along with observer countries, organisations, associations and some research institutions.

At the session, the reports were represented by the six AIPA committees on Women Parliamentarians; Young Parliamentarians; Political Matters; Economic Matters; Social Matters; and Organisational Matters.

The draft resolutions of each committee were discussed on November 21 and 22.

The session also held a ceremony to hand over flags to honour the observer status of Nepal, Azerbaijan and the US.

Samrin highlighted the importance of the role of the parliamentary institutions of the ASEAN member states, saying that they had enhanced cooperation in the region to maintain stability, security, economies, investment and tourism, and to restore post-Covid socio-economic activities.

“[AIPA-43] is a demonstration of close cooperation between the parliaments in the region and our dialogue partners to respond effectively to various challenges in the region and the world,” he added.

Samrin also met with his Moroccan counterpart Rachid Talbi El Alami on the sidelines of the AIPA-43, with both pledging to continue strengthening and developing friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

Separately, Hun Many, chairman of the NA’s 7th Commission, met for talks with the delegation of Deborah O’Neill of Australia, who are observer partners. The discussion focused on investment, sustainable development and post-pandemic recovery.

Many said the valuable discussions would become another important forum to deepen cooperation between ASEAN and Australia.

The AIPA-43 also enabled an exchange of dialogue between AIPA members and observer countries including India, South Korea, the US, Canada and Belarus.

Kin Phea, director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the attendees had laid out many recommendations, especially economic recovery measures. Admission of new members as observer partners into AIPA is an excellent mechanism to expand the forum, he noted.

“The fact that AIPA admits members from outside partners shows its clear support of the principle of multilateralism, because the more partners we have, the stronger we are. No global issues can be resolved by any country unilaterally,” he said.