Minister of State Noel Treacy attends the EU ASEAN Meeting, Jakarta, 9-10 March 2005
The Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs with responsibility for European Affairs, Mr. Noel Treacy T.D., represented Ireland at the 15th meeting of the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the European Union and ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Nations) which was held in Jakarta on 9-10 March 2005.
The regular meetings of the EU and ASEAN Foreign Ministers allow for dialogue and exchanges on current issues of mutual concern and interest. This year's meeting was held in the aftermath of the Tsunami disaster. There was also an opportunity for Ireland together with our EU Partners, to convey their concern at the continuing situation in Burma.
Minister of State Treacy recalled Ireland's response to the Tsunami disaster, which had affected many of the ASEAN partner countries.
The Minister said:
“The Irish people were deeply affected by the tragic suffering inflicted by the Tsunami. The people, and the Government of Ireland, were swift in responding to the disaster. The Irish people were generous in their response and Irish NGOs were active and effective on the ground. Ireland remains committed to assisting those most affected by the disaster in rebuilding their lives through the coming years.
In the course of the meeting, several of the Asian partners affected by the Tsunami expressed their thanks for the assistance extended by Ireland.”
In relation to Burma, Minister Treacy said:
“We had a frank discussion on the situation in Burma. I urged the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the reopening of the National League for Democracy's offices and the full involvement of all opposition parties and ethnic groups in the work of the National Convention, to ensure a credible and transparent process towards democratic reforms.”
During the meeting Ministers reviewed the international response to the Tsunami disaster and agreed on the need to coordinate a strategy for an advance warning system to deal with such natural disasters wherever they may occur.
Minister of State Treacy recalled the importance which Ireland attaches to promoting closer relations between the EU and its Asian partners. He had bilateral discussions with the representatives of the ASEAN Member States. He recalled that the Taoiseach would soon announce the next phase of Ireland's Asia Strategy. He indicated that he would discuss exchanges at the EU ASEAN meeting with the Taoiseach on his return.
Note for Editors:
The ASEAN Member States have a combined population of more than 503 million, a combined GDP of US $690bn and account for more than a third of Ireland's total trade with Asia.
ASEAN was establishes in 1967. Membership now includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The basic aim of ASEAN is to encourage further integration between its members in the political and economic areas. ASEAN is a key interlocutor for the EU in its relations in the Asia region. An EU ASEAN Co-operation Agreement has been in existence since 1980.