The 4th Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) Summit was held here this morning at the Peace Palace.
Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, and his counterparts from Laos, H.E. Bouasone Bouphavanh; Myanmar, H.E. Thein Sein; Thailand, H.E. Abhisit Vejjajiva; and Vietnam, H.E.Nguyen Tan Dung; presided over the summit.
ASEAN Secretary-General H.E. Surin Pitsuwan, foreign ministers, delegate ministers, relevant ministers and business representatives from the ACMECS countries also attended the event.
On the occasion, Cambodian Premier Samdech Techo Hun Sen recalled the past history of ACMECS, saying that the Bagan Declaration at the 1st Summit put forth five priorities for ACMECS cooperation including trade and investment facilitation, agricultural and industrial facilitation, communication system linkage, tourism cooperation, and human resource development.
In 2006, he said, the field of public health was included in the ACMECS cooperation while the field of agriculture and industry were divided into two separated fields to reflect their importance. After that, at the summit in Hanoi, environment became the 8th field of the cooperation, aiming at resolving issues related to environmental threats.
The broadening of the cooperation has shown the significance the member countries have given to this sub-regional economic cooperation strategy, said Samdech Techo Hun Sen, adding that the most important thing is that ACMECS cooperation has been integrated into the master plan of ASEAN.
“The link of ACMECS contributes not only to the vision of ASEAN link, but also to the establishment of ASEAN Community by 2015,” he stressed. The Cambodian prime minister believed that the continued efforts in trade, investment and tourism facilitation will help promote social economy and prosperity,” he said.
He also spoke of the climate change which he termed as life-and-death factor for the ACMECS countries’ future. Last month, ACMECS member countries, including Cambodia, were badly affected by abnormally heavy rain and flooding in several areas of the country.
As the ACMECS countries can be considered as a world important rice stock, the Cambodian leader hoped that the agricultural production domain, especially rice production, will become an important composition of our cooperation in the future.
He further emphasized the importance of support and participation of the private sector in achieving the ACMECS’ joint visions. He then asked the governments of ACMECS member countries to provide more opportunities to private sector so that it can participate in the ACMECS cooperation. The development and prosperity of ACMECS are also inseparable from the support of the development partners.
ACMECS was officially established by the four member countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, at their first Summit Meeting on Nov. 12, 2003 in Bagan, the Union of Myanmar. With Vietnam’s accession to the group in 2004, ACMECS currently consists of five member countries.
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