Subject: AP: France, East Timor sign nonaggression pact with ASEAN

Also: Asean heads sign landmark accord to combat terrorism [T-L thanks Philippines]; Brunei Prince meets Timor Leste minister, attends working lunch

France, East Timor sign nonaggression pact with ASEAN

The Associated Press

Published: January 12, 2007

CEBU, Philippines: France and East Timor signed a nonaggression pact with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Saturday ­ a sign of both countries' hopes for stronger trade and diplomatic ties with the grouping.

The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation requires signatories to renounce the use or threat of force against ASEAN members, stresses noninterference in signatories' internal affairs and allows for arbitration of disputes by a tribunal.

It is also a prerequisite to enter the East Asia Summit, a 16-country bloc spearheaded by ASEAN that was launched in December 2005 as part of ambitious efforts to chart a pan-Asian community.

France's minister for European affairs, Catherine Colonna, and East Timorese Foreign Minister Jose Luis Guterres signed the treaties during the ASEAN annual summit in the central Philippine city of Cebu.

France became the 11th country outside ASEAN ­ and the first European one ­ to sign the treaty, after Australia, China, India, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, South Korea, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Russia.


Asean heads sign landmark accord to combat terrorism

01/13/2007 | 02:08 PM

CEBU - Southeast Asian leaders on Saturday signed a landmark accord allowing for easier prosecution and extradition of terror suspects in a region that has been hit by deadly attacks and bred al-Qaeda-linked militants.

The legally binding Asean Convention on Counterterrorism was signed by the leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cebu city, becoming the first region-wide anti-terrorism edict.

The accord calls on the nations to improve regional cooperation to prevent attacks and to rapidly share intelligence and relay terror warnings among member countries.

Earlier Asean heads have adopted a “proactive" approach to protect rights of migrant workers in Asean member countries.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos Jr. said the declaration will simplify matters by defining the receiving states, the sending states and the commitment of Asean.

Basically, the obligation of the receiving states is to promote harmony and understanding between the host governments/states and the migrant workers," he said in a statement.

Conejos said Asean leaders were to sign the Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of the Migrant Workers within the day Saturday.

He said the obligations of the receiving states include facilitating access to certain services and remedies through information, training and education, legal and judicial system, social welfare benefits, protection of employment, payment of wages and the provision of decent working and living condition of the migrant workers.

The host country should also provide assistance to any victims of discrimination, abuse, exploitation and violence.

If a national is detained or arrested, the host government should facilitate the exercise of consular functions to consular or diplomatic authorities of states of origin.

Meanwhile, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo formally opened the three-day Asean summit Saturday morning, receiving the heads of state who arrived at the resort riding a golf cart that ferried them from their cottages to the Mactan Summit Hall.

The leaders were led into the summit hall to start their first retreat session to discuss the future direction of Asean.

Mrs Arroyo urged Asean member countries to initiate concrete projects and programs that would flesh out the theme of the 12th Asean Summit: “One Caring and Sharing Community."

We want to advance the sense of community in our shared interest to look after each other in terms of justice, economic development and common security," she said.

She said the regional grouping is also committed to expand its trade area “to create one of the world’s greatest trading blocks."

Mrs Arroyo also urged the private sector to play a more proactive role in the implementation of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) flagship programs and projects.

At the 3rd BIMP-EAGA Leaders Summit at the posh Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa Friday, she also cited the importance of BIMP-EAGA’s development partners in harnessing the full potential of the growth area.

It is the private sector of the region that plays a crucial role in economic integration. And so, in this Summit, we hope that we can indeed urge the private sector to play a more proactive role in the implementation of BIMP-EAGA flagship programs and projects," she said.

She cited the sub-regional grouping’s initiatives such as the halal poultry project, renewable energy, and environmental concerns.

Meanwhile, Timor L’Este expressed its deep appreciation to the Asean for their role in helping bring peace and build stability in their country.

Timor L’Este Foreign Minister Dr. Jose Luis Guterres expressed his country’s sentiment during the Asean-Timor L’Este Foreign Ministers Meeting chaired by foreign affairs secretary Alberto Romulo.

He expressed particular appreciation to the Philippines for sending members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to join the UN mission in Timor Leste.

He also expressed gratitude and admiration for PNP Director Roldofo Tor, who was named by the United Nations as the police commissioner for its new mission in East Timor.

Timor L’Este is scheduled to accede to Asean’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation during the 12th Asean Summit and Related Summits in Cebu.

It is viewed as the first step towards full membership in the regional bloc that is moving towards full regional integration. - GMANews.TV with a report from AP


Brunei Bulletin Weekend 

Prince Mohamed meets Timor Leste minister, attends working lunch

HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, yesterday morning attended an Asean Foreign Ministers' Meeting with Foreign Minister Jose Luis Guterres of Timor Leste, in Cebu, Philippines.

The meeting, held in preparation of Timor Leste's signing of the Treaty of Amity and cooperation in Southeast Asia, was one of a number of events taking place before Saturday's opening of the 12th Asean Summit.

His Royal Highness also attended a working lunch for the East Asian foreign ministers hosted by Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G Romulo.

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