JAKARTA,. The agenda of fair cooperation, Myanmar issues, regional stability and Islamophobia were among the focus of discussion at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat (AMM Retreat), according to Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.
He said ASEAN members want to establish good cooperation with various countries and blocs to increase trade and be a platform in solving any problems.
“ASEAN always emphasises a form of cooperation based on fair and equitable principles that can benefit both parties,” he told the Malaysian media after the AMM Retreat meeting, here, yesterday.
Zambry said the good relations that have already been established can be maintained without discriminatory elements and without placing certain conditions on ASEAN.
He emphasised that the European Union’s decisions preventing the entry of commodities from this region into their markets with various obstacles and reasons have displeased ASEAN.
Regarding Myanmar, Zambry said ASEAN continues to engage with all stakeholders to find a solution without setting a timeframe.
ASEAN also hopes that an inclusive negotiation process can be carried out in Myanmar to restore democracy.
“We do not want to give a period of time to resolve such a complex matter in the politics and atmosphere of the country because it involves various parties and negotiations,” he said.
The meeting, chaired by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, also agreed to ensure that the ASEAN region is free from conflicts and threats from ‘major powers’.
According to Zambry, this region, especially the South China Sea, cannot be allowed to become a place of new battles or ‘flash points’ that can destabilise.
“Malaysia and ASEAN need to play a role as mediators if there is any conflict in the future,” he stressed.
At the meeting, Zambry also invited the member countries to jointly fight Islamophobic sentiments and hatred towards any religion so that existing harmony is maintained.
“ASEAN needs to continue to set a good example because it can be tolerant in life with a background of various religions, cultures and languages,” he said.