National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong yesterday said that the General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly will continue to reflect the voice of the people.
|National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung join hands with delegation heads at the 31st AIPA.|
During his opening speech at the 31st AIPA General Assembly in Hanoi yesterday, Chairman Trong said that the conference would help ASEAN's integration process and action programs to better reach out to the people.
The spirit of unity and the promotion of traditional values and fundamental principles in relations among countries in Southeast Asia, according to Mr. Trong, are the decisive factors for the implementation of the ASEAN Charter on the successful building of the ASEAN Community.
AIPA is an important forum for the parliamentarians to exchange views about regional and international issues of common concerns, and enhanced mutual understanding and trust, said Mr. Trong.
Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh shared his views during a meeting late yesterday with heads of the delegations that were attending the forum.
The forum had been effective, which reflected the public's will and increased hope in regional countries, he said.
AIPA made significant contributions to maintaining peace and stability in Southeast Asia. It has also dealt with a number of economic, culture and social issues that came up in the regional development process while expanding its relations with outside partners and dialogue countries, said Mr. Manh.
Recommendations made by AIPA on many aspects have been making positive impacts on each ASEAN country's policy making process and supervision of law implementation, he said.
Vietnam, the ASEAN Chair, is also AIPA President and is hosting its general assembly for the first time. Under the Vietnamese chairmanship, measures to speed up the creation of the ASEAN Community and to bring the ASEAN Charter to life have been discussed throughout the year.
"ASEAN has moved into a new phase of development toward the goal of establishing the ASEAN community by 2015 and has been operating under the legal basis laid down by the ASEAN Charter," said Mr. Trong.
The region's community building process faces considerable difficulties and challenges, stemming from internal weaknesses and external negative impacts, said the NA Chairman. "It requires us to take stronger concerted actions to effectively deal with the common challenges at the national, regional and global levels."
To meet the new requirements, the NA Chairman said AIPA needed to continue reforming its operation mechanisms to be more productive, make substantial contributions to the process of regional integration and actively participate in inter-parliamentary diplomacy, expanding relations with the partners and enhancing the standing of AIPA and ASEAN.
Echoing Mr. Trong's appeal, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said "ASEAN and AIPA must work closely together to address the array of intertwined challenges confronting humankind" and the region has to "grapple with such problems as international terrorism, irregular migration, money laundering and other transnational crimes."
The Cambodian National Assembly's President Heng Samrin yesterday called on the AIPA General Assembly to accelerate the possibility of transforming AIPA into a closer and more effective integration partner with ASEAN and to be an important institution for the member nations.
PM calls for planning
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung called on the regional parliamentarians to maintain their significant policy-planning and law-making role to boost the region's ties during the meeting.
Upholding these roles would both enhance links within ASEAN and promote community relations, he said.
"The joint efforts and close co-ordination between the two channels – the Government and the Parliament – have played a significant role in promoting the realization of the ASEAN Community by 2015," said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister asked the meeting to discuss and put forward practical measures to strengthen unity and comprehensive bonds among the regional nations. Member nations should deepen co-operation in response to emerging challenges, including the post-crisis economic recovery and responses to natural disasters, pandemics and climate change.
PM Dung said he believed that AIPA parliaments would continue their important role by making these co-operation areas of ASEAN part of each country's national development plan.
"As legislative bodies from ASEAN member states, you will facilitate the early ratification and entry of the signed legal documents, and work to harmonies legislation and policies within ASEAN to support the goal of deepening integration and community building," said PM Dung.
Regional policy planners and parliamentarians will discuss and propose specific measures to strengthen solidarity and effective co-operation among their parliaments during the five-day meeting.
This will include the promotion of co-operation between AIPA and ASEAN and the enhancement of regional links.
The parliamentarians are also expected to propose effective responses to climate change, natural disasters and pandemics as well as ways to raise social welfare for women and children and measures to strengthen co-operation with the region's partners.
Fifteen years ago, the Vietnamese National Assembly became an official member of AIPO, which is now AIPA. During its 15-year AIPA membership, Vietnam has actively contributed to the strong growth of AIPA, said National Assembly Vice Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong at the meeting yesterday.
During a courtesy call with representatives from AIPA and its observers before the inaugural ceremony yesterday, Mr. Trong confirmed that Vietnam's National Assembly would do its utmost to provide the best possible conditions for the success of this AIPA General Assembly.
Mr. Trong also underlined the importance of the participation of seven observers – Australia, Canada, China, the EU, Japan, South Korea, and Russia – in helping make AIPA-31 successful.
Separate dialogues will take place between ASEAN members and their observers during the event.