At the First ASEAN-Australia Summit, His Majesty Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah is pleased that negotiations to upgrade the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement are progressing well, and looks forward to its conclusion in a timely manner. The Monarch in the titah highlights that the inaugural Annual ASEAN-Australia Summit marks a new chapter in ASEAN's relations with Australia, ASEAN's first Dialogue Partner.
His Majesty recognises that the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected our people, such as their livelihoods, lifestyle and well-being, including their mental health. The Monarch also acknowledges Australia's strong support in working with both Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia, to bring the mental health agenda to the forefront in our region. In this regard, His Majesty looks forward to capacity building initiatives and the sharing of expertise and experience amongst officials and youths to address mental health issues. His Majesty notes that ASEAN continues to face regional and global economic uncertainties while recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, The Honourable Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia underscored that ASEAN's regional stability is fundamental to Australia, leading to the enduring partnership that is open, inclusive and resilient. With ASEAN at the center of the Indo Pacific, Australia reaffirmed its commitment and support for the four priority areas, namely maritime cooperation, connectivity, sustainable development and the economy, in line with the ASEAN Outlook for the Indo-Pacific. His Excellency Phankham Viphavanh, Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic delivered the ASEAN Common Statement as Country Coordinator for ASEAN-Australia Dialogue Relations which, among other things, welcomed the elevation of ASEAN-Australia relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership; appreciated Australia's participation in ASEAN-led mechanisms and its commitment to ASEAN centrality; supported the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement and upgrading of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement; and socio-cultural flagship programmes including people-to-people exchanges and education.
Source: Radio Television Brunei