Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, held a number of bilateral meetings in the margins of the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Summit, which took place in Brussels yesterday and today.
High Representative Mogherini met Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in order to address the deterioration of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. She underlined the need for the Cambodian government to reverse the current negative political trend and work towards an inclusive solution, especially important in the Everything But Arms context. She assured the Prime Minister of the European Union’s commitment and willingness to engage positively in support of a democratic and stable Cambodia, for the benefit of the Cambodian people.
In her meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Wan Azizah, Federica Mogherini discussed the ambitious reform programme set out by the new Government of Malaysia, which should also help pave the way for stronger relations with the European Union. The Malaysian government’s recent proposal to abolish capital punishment is a further positive development. High Representative Mogherini expressed her hope that the European Union – Malaysia Partnership Agreement would be signed in the near future.
With the Singaporean Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini discussed the significant progress made in our bilateral relations with Singapore. Later today, they signed the EU-Singapore Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, while the European Union – Singapore Free Trade Agreement and the Investment Promotion Agreement will also be signed. She congratulated Singapore for its successful ASEAN chairmanship in 2018 and discussed the strengthening of the EU-ASEAN partnership.
High Representative Mogherini also met the Minister for International Cooperation of Myanmar, Kyaw Tin. Discussions focused on the Rohingya crisis, the findings of the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding mission as regards grave human rights violations in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States, as well as bilateral issues. Federica Mogherini stressed the need for Myanmar to address the issue of accountability for crimes committed by the Myanmar military and to cooperate fully with all relevant United Nations mechanisms. The EU’s Everything But Arms preferential trade scheme was also discussed. The European Union’s objective remains to continue support to the civilian government in order to promote democratic transition.
The High Representative also met the Foreign Minister of Australia, Marise Payne. The two reviewed the state of play of bilateral relations and discussed the implementation of the European Union – Australia Framework Agreement, which has recently been applied on a provisional basis. They also discussed the developments in the Middle East and the Rohingya crisis.
Ahead of the EU – ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting, the High Representative had also received the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Lim Jock Hoi to discuss preparations for the European Union – ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Brussels in January, which she will chair. The two discussed options for deepening the EU-ASEAN partnership and ways to increase security and stability, regionally and globally. At this occasion, the High Representative handed over the signed Financing Agreement of the new €10 million Commission programme to enhance ASEAN’s capacity to deal with humanitarian disasters.