MOSCOW, 11 April 2016 – Senior Officials from ASEAN Member States and the Russian Federation agreed to further broaden and deepen the ASEAN-Russia partnership, which is entering its third decade. This commitment was made during the 13th ASEAN-Russia Senior Officials Meeting (ARSOM) on 5 April 2016 in Moscow.
Both sides recognised that the partnership has strengthened significantly over the past 20 years with the deepening of political-security cooperation, enhanced economic relations and closer socio-cultural ties.
The Meeting noted that 2016 is a special year for ASEAN-Russia ties as both sides mark the 20th Anniversary of the Dialogue Relations. A number of commemorative activities will be organised to mark the occasion, including an ASEAN-Russia Commemorative Summit on 19-20 May 2016 in Sochi, Russian Federation.
The Meeting shared the view that the convening of the Commemorative Summit is the manifestation of the great importance both sides attach at the highest level to the partnership. The Leaders are expected to adopt a joint declaration to guide and advance the partnership. In addition, the Leaders will be receiving a Report from the ASEAN-Russia Eminent Persons Group (EPG), which will contain recommendations to further deepen and promote the relations.
The 13th ARSOM also deliberated on initiatives to further enhance cooperation, including in areas of common interest, such as in energy, transport, food security, agriculture, science and technology, transport, education and disaster management.
During the Meeting, Russia reaffirmed its support for ASEAN Centrality in the evolving regional architecture, which is also reflected in Russia’s regular and active participation in ASEAN-led regional fora, namely the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus, East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum.
In the economic front, the Meeting noted the positive trend in trade and investment. Total two-way trade last year recorded slightly more than USD 23 billion, which was a significant 350% growth over the past eight years, while foreign direct investment from Russia into ASEAN has shown an upward trend. Tourist arrivals from Russia to ASEAN last year also increased to about 2.4 million.
The Meeting also exchanged views on a number of regional and international issues of common interest and concern, including terrorism and violent extremism, maritime security, security threat and challenges, non-proliferation and disarmament, and disaster management, among others.
The 13th ARSOM was co-chaired by H.E. Alounkeo Kittikhoun, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lao DPR and H.E. Igor Morgulov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Lao PDR is the ASEAN’s Country Coordinator for ASEAN-Russia Dialogue Relations from 2015 to 2018.