H.E. Lloyd Axworthy
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The handling-over ceremony of three ASEAN-Canada Cooperation Projects namely, the ASEAN Institute of Forest Management (AIFM); ASEAN Forest Tree Seed Centre (AFTSC) and the ASEAN Fisheries Post Harvest Technology Project (AFPHTP) today marks another milestone in the ASEAN- Canada dialogue relations which enters its 20th year, this year.

ASEAN and Canada have a long history of cooperation dating back to 1977 when ASEAN and Canada held their first dialogue Meeting in Manila. To formalise this cooperation, ASEAN and Canada signed the ASEAN Canada Economic Cooperation Agreement which provided the framework for implementation of development programmes and projcets in the ASEAN Countries.

In the course of our 20 years of collaboration, ASEAN has benefited substantially from the acquisition of knowledge, expertise and technology in the various areas of interest to ASEAN such as Science and Technology, HRD, Fisheries, Forestry, Telecommunications and Environment.

The completion at the three projects is a manifestation of the close collaboration between ASEAN and Canada. On behalf of ASEAN, I wish to extend my congratulations.

Also on behalf of ASEAN, allow me to record our deepest appreciation and gratitude to the Government of Canada, CIDA and to all other Canadian agencies and personnel involved in the funding and implementation of these projects and for their overall support and contribution to the development of the ASEAN region.

I should also like to take this opportunity to record our appreciation to all ASEAN personnel as well as to all ASEAN agencies involved in the projects for their dedication and hard work to bring the projects to a successful conclusion.

Thank you