Interest in the East Asia Summit (EAS) was one of the major issues at the 43rd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers today saying they would recommend to the ASEAN Leaders to formally make the decision on inviting the Russian Federation and the United States to join the EAS. The recommendations, detailing appropriate arrangements and timing among others, would be made to the ASEAN Leaders at the 17th ASEAN Summit in Ha Noi, said the Foreign Ministers in a Joint Communiqué issued at the end of the AMM. Both the Russian Federation and the US had expressed their interest to join the EAS.

Such arrangements should be based on the promotion of existing EAS agenda and priorities, said the Foreign Ministers, while reaffirming ASEAN Centrality as well as the established objectives and principles of the EAS as a Leaders-led forum.

The Foreign Ministers agreed to recommend the 5th EAS to take stock of the EAS achievements and set out directions for its future development and to issue a statement on its 5th anniversary.

In their deliberations, the Foreign Ministers also stressed the importance to maintain ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture. To this end, they agreed to intensify efforts to accelerate ASEAN’s integration and community building while proactively broadening and deepening ASEAN’s external relations and strengthening ASEAN’s role as the primary driving force in the existing regional mechanisms.

The Foreign Ministers welcomed the accession by Canada and Turkey to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC). The accession, the Foreign Ministers said, characterised their commitment to strengthening cooperation with ASEAN and to peace and security in the region. They also welcomed the signing of the Third Protocol amending the TAC which is scheduled to take place on 23 July 2010 in Ha Noi. The entry into force of the Protocol will enable accession by the EU/EC to the Treaty.

Please click here for the Joint Communiqué of the 43rd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting.