The Philippines recently convened the heads of mission of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Switzerland in connection with Manila’s assumption of the chairmanship of the 10-member Asean this year.
Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland Joselito Jimeno said ambassadors from the embassies of Malaysia and Vietnam in Berne and Laos and Myanmar in Geneva attended the inaugural meeting on Thursday.
The charge d’affaires of Thailand and the members of the Asean Working Group were also present at the meeting.
Jimeno discussed the proposed activities in relation to the visit to Switzerland of the Asean secretary general.
He briefed the meeting on the Philippine chairmanship of Asean, including the priorities of the Philippine chairmanship and the activities that will be undertaken during the chairmanship year.
The meeting also discussed the steps in formally constituting the Asean Committee in Berne.
Ambassador Johannes Matyassy, head of the Asia and Pacific Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, apprised the Asean ambassadors on Switzerland’s engagement in the region and its Plan of Action as Asean Sectoral Dialogue Partner.
The meeting marked the first time that the Asean ambassadors officially met as a group with the head of the Asia Pacific Division.
It was seen as an opportune occasion for the ambassadors to also discuss with the Swiss Foreign Ministry official the priority areas of their respective countries for possible bilateral cooperation.