The First Meeting of the ASEAN-Russia Joint Cooperation Committee (ARJCC) was held ‘in Moscow on 5-6 June 1997. The Meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Grigory B. Karasin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, and H.E. Mr. Nguyen Manh Hung, Director-General of ASEAN-Vietnam.

The Russian delegation was composed of representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of External Economic Cooperation and Trade, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Emergency Situations, State Committee on Physical Culture and Tourism, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation.

On the ASEAN side, delegations from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the ASEAN Secretariat attended the Meeting.

The Acting Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, H.E. Mr. Igor S. Ivanov, officially inaugurated the ASEAN-Russia Joint Cooperation Committee. H.E. Foreign Minister Eugueny Primakov sent a special message to the delegates in which he hailed the First ARJCC Meeting as a landmark event in the history of relations between ASEAN and the Russian Federation.

The Meeting had an in-depth discussion on a wide range of issues related to the Dialogue Partnership in the traditional spirit of ASEAN- Russia solidarity. The Meeting reviewed the developments in ASEAN- Russia relations and noted the progress that has been made. Given the importance ASEAN and Russia attach to their relations, the two sides reaffirmed their desire and readiness to move forward in further strengthening their relationship.

The Meeting agreed that the Dialogue Partnership should be guided by the principles of complementarity to existing bilateral cooperation goodwill, mutual respect and understanding, wnicable assistance and support, and due account of the national priorities and capabilities of the participants. It should also assume a step by step approach, proceed at a pace comfortable to all the participants and be based on mutual benefit, business-mindedness and readiness to attain concrete practical results.

The Meeting also discussed the dialogue mechanisms and agreed that four institutions would form the structure of the ASEAN-Russia Dialogue, namely, (a) ASEAN-Russia Joint Cooperation Committee (ARJCC), (b) ASEAN-Russia Joint Management Committee of the ASEAN-Russia Cooperation Fund, (c) ASEAN-Russia Business Council (ARBC), and (d) ASEAN Committee in Moscow (ACM). The ARJCC will act as the coordinator of all the ASEAN-Russia mechanisms at the working level. A Working Group on Science and Technology (WGST) will be established under the purview of the ARJCC.

The Terms of Reference of the ARJCC and the WGST were adopted at the Meeting.

ASEAN welcomed the establishment of the ASEAN-Russia Cooperation Fund and commended Russia’s creative approach in bringing in private sector participation. The Fund will be used to finance joint cooperation projects in the six possible areas of cooperation approved by the ARJCC, namely, trade, investment, and economic cooperation; science and technology cooperation; environmental protection; tourism; human resources development; and people to people interaction.

During the Meeting, representatives from various government agencies and the private sector of Russia presented their project proposals for future cooperation activities between ASEAN and the Russian Federation.

Russia reiterated her desire and readiness for political interaction with ASEAN for which purpose an appropriate mechanism could be established within the framework of the ASEAN-Russia dialogue relations. ASEAN agreed to convey this message to the appropriate ASEAN authority for its consideration.

ASEAN, and Russia expressed confidence that the results of the First Meeting of the ARJCC would further strengthen ASEAN-Russia cooperation.