Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh led the Vietnamese delegation at the Ministerial Meeting of the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) and the Friends of the Lower Mekong (FLM) Ministerial Meeting in Brunei on July 1.

Under the theme “Opportunities and Challenges on Connectivity and Environment”, the LMI meeting discussed challenges to regional development and demands for cooperation and support for Mekong countries to narrow development gaps.

At the meeting, US Secretary of State John Kerry reaffirmed US commitment to strengthen cooperation with Mekong countries in the implementation of the LMI.

According to the delegates, LMI cooperation made positive progress in six key sections through the implementation of a number of initiatives and joint cooperation programmes.

They agreed to create closer links between the LMI and the Initiative of ASEAN Integration, and assist Mekong countries in integrating into the fields that the US is strong in, such as education and training, energy, information technology and health care.

The meeting agreed to launch the Eminent and Expert Persons Group to make recommendations to the Ministers on the strategic direction of the LMI and the way forward.

The Friends of the Lower Mekong (FLM) Ministerial Meeting discussed opportunities and challenges in the management of shared water resources in Mekong River.

Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh spoke highly of development dialogues, including with the US , in implementing activities to strengthen connectivity and integration between Mekong countries.

The Mekong basin in general and Vietnam in particular will be seriously affected by climate change and other environmental challenges, Minh said, adding that related countries should abide by international law and the 1995 Mekong Agreement to use shared water resources sustainably and fairly.

The countries welcomed and pledged to implement two projects proposed by Vietnam in 2012 relating to the management of groundwater and water during the dry season in the Mekong basin.

Dialogue partners and donors pledged to help Mekong countries improve infrastructure, strive for sustainable development, and especially raise the capacity of the Mekong River Commission in the evaluation of environmental impacts and water management.-VNA