Sultan speaks on Heart of Borneo
By Sonia K in Sydney

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday reiterated Brunei Darussalam's commitment to the protection of Brunei Darussalam's environment and to promote the sustainability of its forests through the Heart of Borneo project where 58 per cent of Brunei Darussalam landmass has been committed to the initiative.

Soon after landing in Sydney, His Majesty yesterday afternoon joined the Asean leaders attending the Apec meeting for a luncheon with US President George W Bush, held at the Intercontinental Hotel, Sydney.

Among the issues discussed during the luncheon included issues such as regional and bilateral issues with the United States, international issues as well as Asean-US cooperation.

During the gathering, His Majesty in a titah thanked US President W George Bush for his invitation to the luncheon. His Majesty expressed his appreciation of the efforts made by the United States in enhancing the peace and security in this region.

The monarch expressed pleasure over the good relations between Brunei Darussalam and the US and that the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement has strengthened cooperation in other areas such as education, training and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

His Majesty then welcomed US participation in this effort through exchanges in information and technology.

The discussions also touched on regional and international issues such as the North Korean Nuclear Crisis, the Middle East, Iraq and Iran. The Asean leaders expressed hope that the US could play a role towards a peaceful solution to these problems.

His Majesty also thanked President Bush's invitation for His Majesty along with Asean Heads of Government to the US.

This year will be the 30th Anniversary of Asean-United States Dialogue Partnership.

Later in the afternoon, His Majesty the Sultan met with Mr John Howard the Prime Minister of Australia. The meeting was held at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Office.

During the meeting, His Majesty thanked the Australian Prime Minister for the hospitality accorded to His Majesty and delegation and congratulated the Prime Minister for hosting this year's Apec meeting.

The Monarch and the Prime Minister noted the close relations between Brunei Darussalam and Australia and that there has been much progress on bilateral cooperation in areas such as trade, defence, education and air services agreement.

His Majesty stated that Australia continues to be one of Brunei's main trading partners and expressed pleasure on the fast development of Brunei Darussalam- Australia trade relations and suggested for the two sides to continue to find ways in maintaining this progress.

On the academic and medical fields, His Majesty expressed his appreciation over Australia's contribution in educating and training Bruneian students and officials who have pursued their studies in Australia.

His Majesty also expressed hope that the two sides can further expand their cooperation in these areas.

Present at the talks were Brunei's Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar; the Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Pehin Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, the High Commissioner of Brunei to Australia Haji Md Sahrip bin Othman and the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi. - Borneo Bulletin (6th September 2007)