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40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting opens
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09:47, July 30, 2007

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The 40th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ministerial Meeting (AMM) opened Monday morning.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo greeted foreign ministers of ASEAN member countries at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) before the opening of the meeting. Then the president and foreign ministers posed for a group photo.

Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo said the Philippines is proud to be hosting the AMM at such an important time as the ASEAN has entered its 40th anniversary.

Giving keynote speech at the opening ceremony, Philippine President Arroyo highlighted the significance of the theme of the 40th AMM, "One Caring and Sharing Community," which was adopted at the 12th ASEAN Summit held in Cebu in January this year.

"Building the ASEAN community and voice is a long-term endeavor, there are no short cuts and quick fixes, but we are determined and will persevere to build the community that will provide a more secure, stable, and prosperous life for all people," Arroyo said.

The President called on the ASEAN foreign ministers to speed up regional cooperation in political, security and economic areas.

"An ASEAN community is going to be anchored first and foremost on economic integration, with a focus on social justice and raising the standard of living in the region," she said. "It is about creating a dynamic force in Asia to maximize the benefit of globalization."

Arroyo said she is confident on ASEAN's goal to achieve economic integration among its 10 members by 2015.

The opening ceremony was followed by a retreat disussion, at which foreign ministers will discuss a batch of paramount interest within ASEAN and regional and international issues affecting the region. The ASEAN Senior Officials and Directors-General had held a series of preparatory meetings before the AMM.

The Philippines currently heads the ASEAN and is hosting this week the 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM), Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC), and the 14th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) following the 12th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings in Cebu in January this year.

Founded in 1967, the ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Source: Xinhua

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