ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat 2016 (Source:nhandan.com.vn)
Vientiane (VNA) – The Foreign Ministers from the ten ASEAN member countries convened their first Retreat in 2016 in Vientiane, Laos, on February 27 with the attendance of ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos, which is the ASEAN Chair in 2016, said concerted efforts made over the past five decades since ASEAN’s inception in 1967 have resulted in the establishment of an ASEAN Community in late 2015, a crucial milestone in the grouping’s history.

He affirmed that ASEAN has been working together to actualise the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 adopted at the 27th ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and will continue cooperation to bolster power and bring prosperity for its Community and people.

2016 is important for the ASEAN member countries as it is the first year they have operated as a single community, the Lao official stressed.

He noted that the countries will build on achievements attained to develop their Community and realise the ASEAN Vision 2025 and three Blueprints with the aim of maintaining and strengthening peace and stability, taking on a beyond ASEAN vision and achieving a broadly-integrated regional economy, accelerated connectivity and narrowed development gap.

The Retreat offers an opportunity for ASEAN to seek to further solidarity and power of its Community and to discuss priorities that Laos should take during its ASEAN Chairmanship as well as regional and international issues of shared concern.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh headed the Vietnamese delegation to the Retreat.-VNA