His Majesty chairs 4th Bimp-Eaga Summit
By Azlan Othman

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday chaired the fourth Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippine East Asean Growth Area (Bimp-Eaga) meeting at Shangri-La Hotel.

The summit was attended by Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono; Malaysian Prime Minister Dato Seri Abdullah Hj Ahmad Badawi and Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The discussions were focused on the developments of Bimp-Eaga cooperation.

In opening remarks, His Majesty expressed satisfaction with the encouraging developments within Bimp-Eaga and welcomed the recent signing of two memoranda of understanding under the transportation sector which will enhance sub-regional connectivity.

His Majesty also welcomed initiatives such as the Heart of Borneo (HOB) and the Sulu-Sulawesi-Marine-Eco (SSME) Region as this reflects Bimp-Eaga's contribution in addressing climate change. In this regard, His Majesty also encouraged member countries to jointly work together in seeking more support and assistance from the international community.

At the end of the summit, heads of state and government endorsed the Joint Statement of the Fourth Bimp-Eaga Summit which among others, directed the Transport and Tourism ministers to undertake collaborative actions to ensure the sustainability of the current air routes and to ensure that more sub-regional air connections are established in 2008.

The heads of state and government also reaffirmed their commitment to environmental sustainability and agreed that the upcoming UN Conference on Climate Change in Bali in December 2007 can elevate Heart of Borneo and the Sulu-Sulawesi-Marine-Eco initiatives to the international stage.

As the directives in the Joint Statement will provide for a conducive environment for business and development, the leaders urged the local governments and private sector to work closely together and to translate these initiatives into opportunities.

Created in 1994, Bimp-Eaga is a four-country grouping collectively pursuing sub-regional economic growth. With an estimated 50 million people spread out across 1.5 million square km of land in four countries, the Bimp-Eaga is Asia's largest sub- regional cooperation.

In the evening, His Majesty attended the informal working dinner hosted by Singapore Premier Mr Lee Hsien Loong for the Asean heads of state and govern-ment attending the 13th Asean Summit. The informal Working Dinner was held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore. - Borneo Bulletin (20th Nov 2007)