Hisham reiterates Malaysia's readiness to sign Asean-EU air transport agreement

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Malaysia has reiterated that it is ready to join member states to sign the Asean-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (Cata), says Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

Reiterating Malaysia’s position on the matter in his intervention at the 23rd Asean-EU Ministerial meeting, he said the decision was made with the understanding that it would be allowed to be ratified at a later stage when the country is ready to implement the obligations under the agreement.

"We look forward to the conclusion of the negotiations with the EU on this important inter-regional air transport agreement in the near future,” he said in the meeting on Tuesday (Dec 2).

The meeting, held virtually due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, was chaired by Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and attended by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell Fontelles.

The meeting was attended in full by all foreign ministers – 10 from Asean and 27 from the EU.

The Asean-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (Cata) will be the first ever bloc-to-bloc agreement aimed at enhancing air connectivity between and beyond Asean and the EU when it comes into effect.

Hishammuddin said in view of the Covid-19 pandemic which has significantly wounded the global economy, Asean and EU must also redouble the efforts and make steady and significant progress in developing the framework of parameters of Asean-EU Free Trade Agreement.

He had also called on Asean and EU to work together in addressing issues of extremism in all forms by understanding the root causes that bring about such problems, and explore sustainable and workable solutions that can effectively counter the spread and influence of extreme ideologies.

He said Malaysia is concerned by the unsettled politics in the regional and international stage, as well as flourishing hate and divide which has made the world more volatile than before, stressing that extremism and hate speech in all forms and manifestations should not be tolerated or condoned as it would lead to the disintegration of societies.

"Notwithstanding our national efforts, being preoccupied and focused on recovering from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, I am confident that a great majority of our people, both from Asean and the EU, cannot afford to and must not, lose sight of our main priority which is for peace to prevail in the world.

"We must do our part to promote peace, stability and prosperity - not allowing extremism and hate speech to succeed and thrive, disharmonising our societies,” he added. – Bernama

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