International desk – The summit meeting of the Asian-European group began in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, with counter-terrorism efforts topping the agenda.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who attended the inaugural session among other global leaders, is due to deliver speech to call attention of the global leaders on counter-terrorism as her country experienced back to back terrorist attacks that killed more than 30 people on the first week of this month.
In yet another attack, more than 80 people were killed in southern French city of Nice after a suspected terrorist plough through a lorry into the crowd celebrating Bastille Day.
The two-day 11th Asia-Europe Summit is likely to discuss about the ways and means of countering terrorism together.
The Summit, with its theme styled ’20 years of Asem: Partnership for e Future through Connectivity’, officially started at Shangri-La Hotel in presence of high-level delegation from 51 Asem partners — 30 European and 21 Asian countries and two intergovernmental organisations.
Presidents and Vice Presidents from 11 countries, Prime Ministers from 23, 16 foreign ministers as well as the presidents of the European Council and European Commission, and secretary general of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are joining in the summit.
The Summit is treated as the highest level international event Mongolia has ever hosted.
President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj greeted Hasina after she arrived at the venue to join the inaugural ceremony.
Elbegdorj officially announced the summit started saying, “The people and state of Mongolia have been placing a paramount importance on the Asem Summit, which is currently on the global spotlight.”
“The summit marks 20th anniversary of Asem and coincides with the historic 810th anniversary celebration of Mongolian State,” Elbegdorj said adding that for this reason his country has placed special significance to hosting the summit.
President of European Council Donald Tusk, President of Myanmar Htin Kyaw, Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico, foreign minister of New Zealand Murray McCully also spoke on the opening session.
The opening ceremony was followed by a session on four Asem forums held in Mongolia leading up to ASEM11, the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (Asep), the Asia-Europe People’s Forum (AEPF), the Asia-Europe Business Forum (AEBF) and the Model ASEM.
Hasina is scheduled to one of the two plenary sessions on Promoting Asem partnership for greater connectivity. The other session will hold discussion on ‘Two decades of partnership: taking stock and looking forward’.
The delegates of the Summit will get an opportunity to enjoy Mongolian ‘Nomadic Naadam’ festival observing the 810th anniversary of the establishment of the Great Mongol Empire.
The Summit will end tomorrow with the Chair’s Statement followed by “Ulaanbaatar Declaration” on the Future of Asem.
Bilateral meetings among the global leaders are expected to take place on the sideline of the summit.
The ASEM is an informal manner of dialogue and cooperation that brought together 53 members – 28 European Union states, two other European countries, and the European Union, 21 Asian countries and the ASEAN Secretariat.
Political, economic and cultural issues are core agenda for the dialogue aiming at boosting relationship between the countries in the two continents.