Vietnam hosts ASEAN Senior Official Meeting

Ha Noi, Oct. 13 (VNA) -- Viet Nam hosted the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting (ASEAN-SOM) at deputy-ministerial level in Ha Noi on Oct. 12 and 13, the first meeting in its capacity as President of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Standing Committee. The meeting was chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Tam Chien.

The meeting discussed measures to implement agreements reached at the 33rd Meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers in Bangkok in July 2000 and the annual meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers in New York in September this year.

The ASEAN deputy ministers agreed to focus the organization's future cooperation on fields prioritized in the Ha Noi Plan of Action, especially those of economy, information technology, human resource development and Mekong basin development. They stressed that ASEAN should make a mid-term review of the implementation of the Ha Noi Plan of Action at the ASEAN Summit to be held in Brunei in 2001.

They also agreed to realize other decisions made at the recent annual meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers. This will include setting up hotlines connecting ASEAN leading officials, reforming the organization's working style and boosting cooperation between ASEAN and its dialogue partners as well as with other regional and international organizations.

The meeting approved the draft regulation of the Supreme Council for the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) to be submitted to ASEAN foreign ministers. According to the draft regulation, the Supreme Council is an institution through which TAC participants can resolve regional disputes and make decisions by concensus. With the approval of this regulation, ASEAN would attain an important target for political cooperation as mentioned in the Ha Noi Plan of Action.

Regarding the implementation of the Treaty on Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (SEANWFZ), the ASEAN deputy ministers affirmed that they would continue negociating with the five nuclear powers in the hope that they would soon sign the treaty.

Participants in the meeting inspected ASEAN standpoints and its preparations for ASEAN meetings and ASEAN meetings with its dialogue partners, especially preparations for the 4th unofficial ASEAN Summit to be held in Singapore in November, the Asia-Europe Meeting in Seoul, the Republic of Korea, in October, and the ASEAN-EU Foreign Ministerial Meeting in Vientiane, Laos, in December.

The ASEAN deputy ministers exchanged views on regional and international issues and other matters to do with ASEAN cooperation in politics, security, and cooperation for development