Vice-President to attend ASEM Summit in Brussels

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New Delhi, Oct. 2 (ANI): The Vice-President, Mohammad Hamid Ansari, will undertake a three-day visit to Brussels from October 3 to 5 to attend the Eighth Summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting more commonly known as ASEM.

Ansari, who leaves early on Sunday morning by special aircraft, will lead the Indian delegation at the summit.

He will be accompanied by Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Latha Reddy, Joint Secretary to the Vice-President P. Harish and Joint Secretary (MER), Suresh Reddy.

During his stay in Brussels, Ansari will take part in the welcome ceremony and the opening ceremony of the summit, besides the closed session for leaders on October 4.

Mrs. Reddy informed that he would also attend a working dinner on the same day.

She said that Financial and Economic Governance would be the theme of the first session as well as during the working dinner, and added that the vice-president will address the first Plenary Session on the same subject.

On Tuesday, the Indian delegation would attend three closed sessions and a working lunch where all leaders would discuss the remaining themes-Sustainable Development, Global and Regional Issues, and People-to-People Visibility and the Future of ASEM.

Belgian King Albert II would host a reception for all ASEM leaders on October 5 at lunch, and this would be followed by the closing ceremony at 4:45 p.m.

Reddy said the vice president would also have bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit.

She said that Ansari would have meetings with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme. Meetings with other leaders are being worked on, she added.

The overarching theme of the summit is achieving greater well being and dignity for all citizens. The short theme is quality of life.

The Chair's Statement and a Statement on Effective Global Economic Governance are the two documents to be issued at the end of the Summit.

This is the second summit level participation for India.

The summit will witness the expansion of ASEM membership with the addition of Australia, New Zealand and Russia.

ASEM brings together 27 European Union members and the European Commission from the European side, and from the Asian side it has ten ASEAN members and six other countries - China, India, Japan, Mongolia, Pakistan and South Korea.

The six other countries are under a subgroup called NESA, which stands for North, East and South Asia. Australia, New Zealand and Russia will now join ASEM at Brussels. The total number will now come to 48.

ASEM is a unique framework that brings Asia and Europe together on one platform for cross-continental dialogue and cross-fertilization of ideas on a wide range of topical issues. By Mrityunjay Singh(ANI)

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