HÀ NỘI — The 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) officially kicked off on Tuesday morning via a teleconference under the theme “Parliamentary Diplomacy for a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community”.
Addressing the opening ceremony in Hà Nội, Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân said that in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic which has had severe impacts on political, economic and social activities of every country, the organisation of the 41st AIPA General Assembly has shown the resolve and efforts of ASEAN parliaments to work with governments to overcome difficulties, push back the pandemic for the happiness of the people, and the co-operation and development of the ASEAN Community.
“Việt Nam’s honour to take on the AIPA Chair and the hosting of the 41st General Assembly have affirmed the role and responsibility of the Vietnamese NA and AIPA’s international mission on multilateral co-operation mechanism. It also demonstrates solidarity and responsible co-operation of member parliaments,” she said.
The Vietnamese NA leader, who is also AIPA41 President, urged member parliaments to stand side by side with governments to seek ways to push back COVID-19, recover and develop the economy, stabilise local livelihoods and promote ASEAN co-operation during and post-pandemic.
With strong connections, AIPA, as legislative agencies of ASEAN countries, will support ASEAN to promote the central role of the regional structure, proactively adapt to opportunities and challenges, contributing to maintaining peace, security and stability of the region, and acting together for the common interests of the ASEAN community, Ngân said.
She also called on solidarity, sharing and putting people’s benefits at the centre in compliance with national and international laws. ASEAN parliaments should foster co-operation in the process of building the ASEAN Community and promoting inter-parliamentary collaboration.
“Over the past 43 years, AIPA has leveraged its role and has joined with ASEAN. Now more than ever, it is the time for AIPA to continue its efforts to contribute to ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture, promote multilateralism, connectivity, international co-operation, absolute respect for the rule-of-law for peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world.”
“I’m confident that the General Assembly will think Community, act Community to realise the goal of a strong, cohesive ASEAN Community with international standing, a truly people-oriented community that puts people at its core,” he said.
In his opening remarks, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc pointed out important co-operation between AIPA and ASEAN parliaments and governments.
ASEAN’s law executive and legislative channels should continue to work closely to promote the successful implementation of the Master Plans on the three pillars of politics-security, economy and culture-society, and realise ASEAN Community’s Vision towards 2025, he said.
PM Phúc urged ASEAN parliaments to focus on promoting economic integration, strengthening connectivity, narrowing development gaps, and integrate ASEAN policies with national development programmes.
He expected AIPA member countries and their parliaments to listen to people’s aspirations, make recommendations and join the governments in making decisions on the development direction of ASEAN and formation of the people-centred ASEAN Community Vision after 2025.
The first day of 41st AIPA General Assembly will be followed by a plenary session, the Meeting of AIPA’s Women Parliamentarians and the Unofficial Meeting of AIPA’s Young Parliamentarians.
The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) is a regional parliamentary organisation. It was originally formed on September 2, 1977 as the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organisation (AIPO) by the leaders of the parliamentary delegations of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand attending the Third ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Manila, the Philippines. In 1995, Việt Nam became a member, followed by Laos in 1997, Cambodia in 1999, and Brunei in 2009. At the 27th AIPO General Assembly held in Cebu city, the Philippines in 2006, there was a consensus to transform the organisation into a more effective and closely integrated institution and to change the organisation’s name from AIPO to AIPA. — VNS
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