Mekong-Ganga cooperation meeting issues joint statement

The seventh Foreign Ministerial Meeting of the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) issued a joint statement and a MGC Action Plan for 2016-2018 in Vientiane, Laos on July 24.

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The event was organised on the sidelines of the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM 49) in Vientiane, Laos under the chair of host Foreign Minister Saleumxay Komasith.

The Vietnamese delegation to the meeting was led by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

During the meeting, the foreign ministers of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and India’s Minister of State for External Affairs reviewed the outcomes of the MGC cooperation since 2012, with the highlights being the establishment of the Asian Traditional Textiles Museum in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and the MGC scholarship programme which has granted more than 900 scholarships to students from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

In addition, the MGC Quick Impact Projects Fund has to date financed 20 projects in the four Mekong nations, including five in Vietnam, worth a total of US$250,000.

For the time ahead, the delegates agreed to boost their partnership in culture, tourism, education, health care, Mekong-India connectivity, agriculture, and human resource training.

The two sides also planned to provide support to their small- and medium-sized enterprises through setting up working groups and holding personnel training joint tourism promotion programmes geared towards Mekong countries’ needs and regional situation.

India pledged to continue contributing US$1 million per year to the MGC Quick Impact Projects Fund for the four Mekong nations.

The conference also agreed to hold the eighth MGC Foreign Ministerial Meeting in the Philippines in 2017 on the sidelines of the AMM 50.

Foreign ministers scrutinize Mekong-RoK links

The 6th Mekong-Republic of Korea (RoK) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting took place in Vientiane, Laos on July 24 in the framework of the ongoing 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM 49).

During the meeting, the foreign ministers from the RoK, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia reviewed Mekong-RoK connection in recent time and discussed future orientations for the cooperation mechanism.

They applauded remarkable achievements in performing the 2014-2017 Action Plan, including the implementation of projects concerning the development of waterways on the Mekong River, the 2016 Asia Pacific Teacher Exchange, a training programme of logistic services, those to upgrade the national hydrometeorology system and develop a legal information system in Myanmar.

The ministers hoped the Mekong-RoK Cooperation Fund (MRCF) will continue providing financial support for medium- and long-term projects, contributing to realising the master plan of ASEAN connectivity.

They appreciated the success of the 4th Mekong-RoK Business Forum in Myanmar in June, saying that this offered a good chance for enterprises to seek cooperation opportunities in business and investment.

Participants agreed on the need to enhance bilateral and multilateral links with international partners and organisations in the Mekong River region while debating on global and regional issues related to the Korea peninsula, tensions in the East Sea, natural disasters and climate change, and security of water, energy and food.

The meeting approved a joint statement and seven projects, which will use funding from the MRCF.

In his speech, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh highlighted the importance of strengthened links within the Mekong-RoK cooperation mechanism to narrow the development gaps.

He also emphasised the need to encourage the private sectors to join the cooperation mechanism, especially in green growth, sustainable water management and development and climate change adaptation.

The Mekong River plays a vital role in the Mekong sub-region, therefore connection within the cooperation mechanism should further assist the Mekong River Commission (MRC)’s activities, he noted.

As scheduled, the 7th Mekong-RoK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will be held in the RoK in 2017.

VNA

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