The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings are underway in Phnom Penh, with the official opening presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen scheduled for August 3, according to official agenda seen by The Post.
Sim Vireak, head of the General Department of ASEAN at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, chaired a July 30 meeting with the delegation of senior ASEAN officials in charge of document drafting in the lead-up to the official opening.
“We hope that negotiations will be active and fruitful,” he said briefly in a social media post.
Foreign minister Prak Sokhonn said on July 30 that he was expecting the 55th AMM and Related Meetings to be a hectic week for all of the professionals and support staff involved.
“During this historic event, we seek understanding from our local residents for the traffic congestion and other protocol arrangements. This once-in-a-decade duty will be yet another milestone for Cambodia as a member of ASEAN, as well as an active contributor in the region,” he said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen is set to meet with the ASEAN foreign ministers and the bloc’s secretary-general when he announces the formal opening of the 55th AMM and Related Meetings on August 3.
The related meetings include that of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free-zone Commission, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Interface Meeting with ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights Representatives, the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conferences with ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners, the 23rd ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the 12th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the 29th ASEAN Regional Forum
According to the AMM’s agenda, on August 3 the ASEAN foreign ministers and secretary-general will witness the signing of the Instruments of Accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) by Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Three separate tripartite meetings between Cambodia, the ASEAN Secretariat and three ASEAN dialogue partners are also on the agenda. They will meet with Norway and Turkey on August 3 and Switzerland on August 4.
Four other countries will be invited as guests of the 2022 ASEAN chair – Papua New Guinea, Morocco, East Timor and Azerbaijan.
In a July 28 press release, the foreign ministry said Sokhonn is expected to meet bilaterally with several of his counterparts. He will hold a press conference on August 5 after the meetings are concluded.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Phnom Penh from August 3-5 to participate in the US-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and the ASEAN Regional Forum.
According to a July 29 US press release, at each meeting, Blinken will emphasise the US’ commitment to ASEAN centrality and successful implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
It said Blinken will meet bilaterally with Prime Minister Hun Sen and Sokhonn to discuss US support for ASEAN and efforts to strengthen their bilateral relations with Cambodia.
Blinken will also engage with alumni of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative.
He is expected to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic, economic cooperation, the fight against climate change, the Myanmar crisis and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Yang Kim Eng, president of the People’s Centre for Development and Peace, said ASEAN must find a solution to the Myanmar issue to set an example and establish a pattern for resolving other crises which may occur in the future.
“We should strive to solve the Myanmar issue. That would serve as a model for solving other regional problems in the future,” he said.
According to the Ministry of Information, as of July 30, more than 600 journalists, including over 250 from overseas, had registered to cover the AMM. The ministry had dedicated 70 officials and staff to coordinate the event.