Medvedev cites PGMA as Third World Spokesperson

June 7, 2009 9:18 am 

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, June 6 — The only leader of a developing country in the four-man panel at the opening session Friday of the 13th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo articulated the hopes and worries of Third World countries amidst the global economic crisis.

The three other panelists were Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and Nobel Prize laureate in economics, Dr. Robert Mundell of Columbia University in the United States.

All three come from G7 countries, the world leading economies.

President Arroyo discussed the various measures her administration had taken and continues to pursue to blunt the effect of the crisis now roiling the economies of advanced industrial countries.

These measures include investments in human concerns and infrastructure, and the exercise of fiscal prudence to ensure that inflation is contained at a manageable level.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said that President Arroyo’s role as spokesperson of the developing countries was appreciated by no less than President Medvedev, who also thanked her for acting as coordinator between Russia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

During their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg economic forum, Medvedev told President Arroyo that he was looking forward to Russia’s becoming a member of the ASEAN, Remonde said.

President Arroyo, Remonde added, explained that there are three criteria for membership in the ASEAN, namely, a nation must be a dialogue partner of the regional grouping; it must have an existing treaty of amity and cooperation with ASEAN, and substantive relations with the association-member nations.

In Nov. 2004, Russia forged a treaty of amity and cooperation with ASEAN, but its trade with members of the regional bloc has lagged behind those with other countries.

President Arroyo explained that ASEAN countries put premium on the issue of substantive relations, and suggested that Russia expand its trade with ASEAN, notably its liquefied natural gas (LNG) production.

She noted that at present 65 percent of Russia’s LNG output is committed to Japan, 20 percent to the US and the balance to South Korea.

Russia has a massive physical presence in Asia-Pacific through the Russian Far East, Sakhalin and Vladivostok, making it part of the East Asian community of nations.

In 2005, the First ASEAN-Russian Federation Summit was held in Kuala Lumpur.

The meeting was chaired by Malaysian Prime Minister Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi while Russia was represented by then Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin.

Among the agreements reached during the Kuala Lumpur summit was the promotion of ASEAN-Russian economic relations, the “strengthening of ASEAN-Russian cooperation in combating transnational crimes, including drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, sea piracy, armed smuggling, money laundering, international economic crime and cyber crime.” (PNA)

LGI/OPS/rsm

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