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Published: Sunday November 4, 2012 MYT 7:01:00 PMUpdated: Sunday November 4, 2012 MYT 7:23:10 PM
KOTA KINABALU: The announcement of the Australia-Malaysia Young Muslim Exchange Programme by Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr on Sunday marked yet another monumental chapter on bilateral relations between the two countries, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.
He said Malaysia welcomed Australia's proposal to launch the programme aimed at promoting better cultural understanding.
"This exchange programme is another clear example of how our mature cooperation engenders a collective effort which enables us to make a difference for the benefit of our people.
"Malaysia is heartened by Australia's initiatives in closing the gap and promoting understanding between religions and communities through inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue," he said in a joint press conference, in conjunction with Carr's official visit to Malaysia here.
Anifah said the government also appreciated Australia's acknowledgement of the role played by Malaysia in facilitating the peace agreement between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, leading to the recent signing of a Framework Agreement.
In this respect, Anifah urged Australia to assist in the economic development of the southern Philippines, thus giving new hope for the Bangsamoro.
On trade and investment, Anifah said both countries shared the same view that there was still greater potential to expand the quantum of trade and investment between Malaysia and Australia.
He said the coming into force of the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement on Jan 1, next year, would enhance the movement of exports and services, as well as boost investment flow, while advancing the commitments made in the Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement.
Anifah said cooperation in education continued to be an integral part of bilateral relations of both countries, adding that currently, more than 20,000 Malaysian students pursued higher education in Australia.
"In our bilateral meeting today, Senator Carr and I also touched on a number of regional and international matters of mutual interest, namely the Australia-Asean Dialogue Relations and the East Asia Summit, as well as Australia's role as a newly-elected non-permanent member to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the term 2013-2014.
"I happy to note that Australia has also expressed support to Malaysia's candidacy for the election of non-permanent member to the UNSC for the term of 2015-2016," he said. - Bernama
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