Monday, July 16, 2007

Cops on Red Alert for Asean Meetings

The police in Metro Manila will be placed on red alert in time for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) meetings at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

Chief Supt. Eric Javier, Metro Manila police deputy for operations, said the red alert is meant more to secure visiting delegates than averting a terror attack.

Radio dzBB reported Monday that Javier also received assurances from militant groups that they will not disrupt the Asean meetings from July 29 to Aug. 2.

While it was not immediately clear when the red-alert status will take effect, checkpoints have been observed in many areas of Metro Manila since last weekend.

At least 27 countries will be represented at the 40th Asean Ministerial Meeting (AMM), the Post-Ministerial Conferences (PMCs), and the 14th ASEAN Regular Forum (ARF) in Manila.

Foreign Affairs Department Assistant Secretary for ASEAN Affairs Luis Cruz said ASEAN foreign ministers will discuss the status of ASEAN's community building efforts and assess the progress security community, economic community, and socio-cultural community.

Cruz said the 40th AMM will also adopt measures to implement the landmark decisions of the 12th ASEAN, the 2nd East Asia Summit and other related summits held in Cebu last January.

He also noted that for the first time, Sri Lanka will be represented in the 14th ARF, bringing the total number of ARF participating countries to 27.

The Philippines, as current chairman of the ASEAN Standing Committee, is expected to lead in the discussions of the measures to follow up on the directives of the ASEAN leaders firmed up at the Cebu Summit.

The AMM is an annual meeting of the ASEAN foreign ministers held in July. Hosting is on a rotational basis by ASEAN member countries in alphabetical order.

The 10 ASEAN members are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

On the other hand, the PMCs are annual meetings between ASEAN foreign ministers and their counterparts from 10 dialogue partners: China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, India, Russia, Canada, the United States, and the European Union.

Cruz said the PMCs in Manila, scheduled on Aug. 1, will have the ASEAN foreign ministers meet with their counterparts from Australia, Canada, the European Union, New Zealand, Russia and the US.

The meetings with the foreign ministers of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea took place at the sidelines of the Cebu Summit.

The 14th ARF is the only forum in the Asia-Pacific whose aim is to discuss regional and international security issues.

Scheduled on Aug. 2, the ARF will bring together foreign ministers of ASEAN, their counterparts from the 10 dialogue partners and from other countries in the region that include Bangladesh, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste.

The theme of the upcoming Manila meetings, Cruz said, is still "One Caring and Sharing Community."

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