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Canada has been urged to enhance its engagement with ASEAN now that it would be acceding to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) of 1976. In a bilateral meeting with Canada’s Minister of Foreign Minister, Mr Lawrence Cannon, at the sidelines of the 43rd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting/Post-Ministerial Conferences/17th ASEAN Regional Forum in Ha Noi yesterday, the Secretary-General of ASEAN said the region would welcome Canada’s greater involvement with ASEAN. Dr Surin Pitsuwan suggested that Canada consider cooperation with ASEAN on issues such connectivity, control of pandemic diseases and on human rights.

Earlier, at the Post Ministerial Conference with Canada, the Ministers adopted the Plan of Action to Implement the Declaration on ASEAN-Canada Enhanced Partnership for 2011-2015. They also agreed to work toward an ASEAN-Canada Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) to enhance trade and investment relations.

ASEAN welcomed Canada’s signing of the Instrument of Accession to the TAC, which, the Foreign Ministers said, marks another significant progress in the dialogue relationship, as well as Canada’s commitment to peace, stability and cooperation in the region.

A signing ceremony would be held just before the Closing Ceremony of the week-long meetings on 23 July 2010.