Asian partnerships key to growth: King Hamad
Manama, November 26, 2013
Bahrain's His Majesty King Hamad yesterday called for greater partnerships with Asian countries to confront global challenges.
His Majesty hosted a lunch banquet in honour of delegations taking part in the 12th ministerial meeting of the Asia Co-operation Dialogue (ACD), said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
He stressed the importance of a stronger and united Asia to cope with rapid changes, maintain security, stability and peace and spur growth and prosperity.
His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, were also present at Gudaibiya Palace.
Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa introduced to His Majesty the delegations.
The King described the establishment of the ACD in 2002 as signalling a historic beginning, which revived Asian peoples' aspirations for a better future.
"This initiative set a mature model to emulate in Asia, a continent blessed with enormous economic resources," he said, stressing the need to bolster co-operation and build on deep-rooted common heritage.
Meanwhile, Shaikh Khalid stressed the importance of promoting co-operation, in a keynote speech at the 12th ministerial meeting of the ACD.
He called for creating Asian partnerships to bolster investment in industry and alternative energy, promote environmental tourism and boost women's empowerment.
He hailed the meeting as a good opportunity for Asian decision-makers to share views and experiences to establish relations, in order to enable Asian leaders to be key players.
He added that the ACD was established as a forum for all Asian countries, attracting 33 states, in order to become an effective mechanism for strategic co-operation.
He noted that economic and social developments in Asia require an all-out response by propping up economic integration.
The Asian continent is rich in various cultural, human, economic and strategic potential, he said, pointing to a Bahraini working paper on the development of Asian environmental tourism by launching an Asian tourism city.
The Bahraini document aimed at finding fresh ways to reinforce co-operation, encourage investment in new sectors, open cultural and touristic exchange and boost the competitive edge of ACD member states in tourism, he said.
The ACD was inaugurated in June 2002 in Cha-Am, Thailand, where 18 Asian foreign ministers met for the first time.
The ACD is a continent-wide forum, the first of its kind in Asia.
It aims to form the missing link in Asia by incorporating every Asian country and building an Asian community without duplicating other organisations or creating a bloc against others.
A key principle is to consolidate Asian strengths and fortify Asia's competitiveness by maximising the diversity and rich resources.
The core values of the ACD are positive thinking; informality; voluntarism; non-institutionalisation; openness; respect for diversity; the comfort level of member countries; and the evolving nature of the ACD process.
Earlier, the Foreign Minister expressed sincere condolences to the government of the Philippines, which suffered great losses after Typhoon Haiyan.
He also welcomed Turkey as a new member of the ACD, affirming that Turkey's membership will consolidate its position as a model of strategic partnership, in light of Turkey's ancient civilisation and its strong economic position.
He noted that the development of the ACD as a real organisation for strategic co-operation has been realised by the establishment of the provisional secretariat in Kuwait.
The minister said that addressing economic and social issues in Asia requires seeing them from a comprehensive and holistic perspective, which entails reinvigorating and emulating Asian economic progress, and a comprehensive review of resolutions, initiatives and action plans to lay the foundation for development and to overcome obstacles.
Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dr Surapong Tovichakchaikul noted Bahrain's initiative to promote intra-Asian tourism as it is forecast that over the next decade Asia's tourism industry will grow at an annual rate of six per cent, at the same time creating more than 40 million jobs.
Culture Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa said in her opening remarks that Bahrain's idea of launching an Asian tourism city came from its belief that the tourism sector plays a crucial role in the growth of national economies as well as promotion of cultural exchanges. - TradeArabia News Service