Jakarta, 2 March 2011

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The Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, yesterday received H.E. Markos Kyprianou, Foreign Affairs Minister of Cyprus, at his office at the ASEAN Secretariat. Dr Surin extended his warm welcome to the Minister and his team, and briefed them on ASEAN’s recent developments and achievements.

In response, Minister Kyprianou briefed Dr Surin on the wider developments in the European Union, including the Chairmanship of three Member Countries over 18 months. He informed Dr Surin that in practice, after the three Foreign Ministers of Cyprus, Denmark and Poland present their programmes for Presidency in July 2011, each Member Country will assume the Presidency for six months each.

Dr Surin expressed his support for the upcoming Cypriot Presidency of the European Council. He stated ASEAN’s appreciation for the continued support that EU has rendered thus far. He also noted that this is the time for ASEAN to learn from the EU on how to build a stronger market among ASEAN Member States, and how to maintain competition amongst them.

SG Surin also welcomed the proposal of a Cyprus Ambassador to ASEAN and informed Minster Kyprianou that the Secretariat will seek an agreement from the ASEAN Foreign Ministers and process the request accordingly.

Dr Surin thanked Cyprus for its continued support in facilitating the evacuation process of ASEAN nationals from Egypt, Libya and Lebanon.