1. The 21st ASEAN-Australia Forum was held on 10 November 2006 in Phuket, Thailand, with the participation of representatives from Australia and all ASEAN Member Countries as well as the ASEAN Secretariat.
  2. The Forum was co-chaired by Mr. Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, and Ms. Gillian Bird, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia.
  3. The Forum acknowledged the long-standing partnership between ASEAN and Australia as well as multi-faceted challenges, including traditional and non-traditional security threats, which constitute a compelling and timely rationale for ASEAN and Australia to enhance and elevate their partnership to a higher plane.
  4. The Forum welcomed the development of a framework document on ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Partnership, which gives a clear direction to all aspect of ASEAN-Australia relations and cooperation. The Forum recommended the said document for signing during the 2nd East Asia Summit in Cebu, the Philippines in December this year.
  5. The Forum also agreed that a Plan of Action to implement the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Partnership would be drafted. The Forum expects the Plan of Action to be ready for adoption at the PMC Session with Australia in the Philippines in 2007.
  6. The Forum recognized the contribution of the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program (AADCP) to ASEAN’s economic integration and welcomed the Successor Program of the AADCP which is taking shape at a crucial time when the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Partnership is being developed and ASEAN is to revise the Vientiane Action Programme and its related Plans of Action in response to possible advancement of the realization of an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. The Forum emphasized that the design of the AADCP Successor Program should be in line with and complementary to the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP) and the framework document on ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Partnership.
  7. The Forum took note of progress in an ASEAN Community building processes as well as ASEAN’s continued efforts to engage key players in the region and beyond. Participants in the Forum also reaffirmed their common interest in further engaging among themselves and with external powers in order to maintain peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
  8. Australia and ASEAN Member Countries exchanged views on situations in the Pacific region, particularly the Solomon islands, Fiji and Timor Leste. It was acknowledged that Australia had played a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability as well as promoting socio-economic development among countries of the South Pacific region.
  9. The Forum extended its full support to the 2nd East Asia Summit to be held in Cebu, the Philippines, this December and its deliberation on priority areas, including energy security and regional financial integration.
  10. The Forum was briefed by Vietnam on its hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings and the APEC Summit. Participants in the Forum expressed support for APEC’s structural reform. They also recognized that APEC had its bearing beyond economic arena and commend the work of member economies on certain areas, such as prevention of communicable diseases, including Avian Influenza, and disaster management.
  11. The Forum welcomed the progress of the ASEAN-Australia and New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) negotiations in several areas, such as trade in goods and services, rules of origin, etc. The Forum hoped that ASEAN Member Countries and Australia would exercise greater flexibilities in order to conclude the negotiations by 2007 and implement the AANZFTA in early 2008.
  12. The Forum welcomed Vietnam’s recent accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Participants in the Forum also urged for the re-convening of the Doha Round negotiations as soon as possible and noted that the challenge was less of a technical matter than political will. They hoped that key players would remain engaged and that the WTO member economies could work out their differences, especially on the negotiations on liberalization of agricultural products.
  13. ASEAN Member Countries and Australia exchanged views on international terrorism and recognized that due to the complexity of the problem, counter-terrorism must involve suppressing terrorist activities and networks as well as combating terrorism from the ideological dimension.
  14. The Forum acknowledged the contribution of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) to confidence building among regional countries. They also discussed the future direction of the ARF and expressed support to measures and activities aimed at promoting the move towards Preventive Diplomacy, such as enhanced roles of the ARF Chair as well as Experts and Eminent Persons (EEP), Terms of Reference for Friends of the ARF Chair, increased interaction between Track I and Track II as well as between ARF and other security organizations.
  15. The Forum expressed serious concern over nuclear testing in the Korean Peninsula and would welcome the return to the Six Party Talks of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
  16. The Forum appreciated cooperation between ASEAN Member Countries and Australia in combating drug trafficking and trafficking in persons in the region. They agreed that comprehensive measures must be applied in solving the problems and looked forward to strengthening collaboration in this regard.
  17. All parties recognized the serious threat and trans-boundary impact of communicable diseases, particularly HIV and AIDS and Avian Influenza. They agreed to enhance their cooperation in the areas of prevention, treatment and care at bilateral, sub-regional and regional levels.
  18. ASEAN Member Countries and Australia reaffirmed the importance of regional cooperation on disaster prevention, preparedness, early warning and emergency response within the contexts of ASEAN and ARF. Emphasis was placed on a multi-hazard approach, including such measures as capacity building in effective forecast and early-warning issuance of national centers as well as civil-military interface in emergency response.
  19. The Meeting agreed that in order to follow up more closely on cooperation progress, the ASEAN-Australia Forum should be held every 12 to 18 months and that the 22nd ASEAN-Australia Forum would be hosted by Australia in 2007.
  20. Participants in the 21st ASEAN-Australia Forum expressed appreciation to Thailand for its warm hospitality and excellent arrangements accorded to them during their stay in Phuket, Thailand.