Call for talks on Myanmar

Foreign affairs: Hishammuddin speaking with Prince Faisal in Saudi Arabia. He will visit Brunei soon to have an audience with the Sultan.

PUTRAJAYA: Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein is expected to meet the Sultan of Brunei soon on the proposed special meeting among Asean foreign ministers to discuss the latest developments in Myanmar.

“I will be making a trip soon to have an audience with His Majesty. This is crucial to further discuss the announcement made by the Prime Minister and President Jokowi for foreign ministers to call a special meeting to discuss developments in Myanmar, ” he said in an interview from Saudi Arabia yesterday. Brunei is the current chair of Asean.

The Sultan of Brunei, said Hishammuddin, had consented to grant him an audience.

Malaysia, he added, was aware of mounting expectations on the regional grouping to look into what was happening in its member state.

On Feb 5, Muhyiddin and Indonesian president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said they were seeking a special meeting of the South-East Asian nations to discuss the situation in Myanmar, where an elected government was overthrown in a military coup.

Singapore is also in support of a proposal to hold an informal Asean ministerial meeting on Myanmar.

On Feb 1, a state of emergency for one year was declared in Myanmar after its leader Aung San Suu Kyi and senior figures from the ruling National League for Democracy party were detained in an early morning raid.

The move comes after days of escalating tension between the civilian government and the military stirred fears of a coup in the aftermath of an election which the army claimed was fraudulent.

Following the coup, several countries – the United States, Britain and Canada – imposed sanctions on Myanmar while New Zealand suspended all high-level contact with Myanmar and imposed a travel ban on its military leaders.

Hishammuddin, who is on an official visit to Saudi Arabia, said in his meeting with his counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, that they had finalised negotiations on the establishment of a High Level Strategic Committee at Foreign Ministers’ level, which would pave the way for regular consultations on issues of mutual interest.

Among the key areas of consultations are regional and international political security issues, post-Covid-19 economic recovery, haj and umrah matters, food security and palm oil trade.

“Given the importance of building a strong and resilient economic recovery from the pandemic, we also agreed to foster greater cooperation in the field of trade and

investments, including on technology and innovation, ” he said in a statement.

On his meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, Hishammuddin said the issue of cooperation to maintain oil market stability and means of enhancing investment opportunities between the two countries was raised.

“This working visit has contributed towards augmenting further the close and fraternal ties between the two countries.

“Malaysia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continue to enjoy close brotherly relations in a broad range of areas including politics, economy, higher education and Haj affairs, ” he said.

Last year, total bilateral trade between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia was recorded at US$4.83bil (RM20.27bil), with Saudi Arabia being Malaysia’s second largest trading partner in the Middle East.

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Hishammuddin Hussein , Asean , Myanmar


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