Discussions on ASEAN hotline ‘progressing’
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
DISCUSSIONS on the establishment of a regional communications link to prevent maritime disputes are “progressing well”, said a participant of the first Ad-Hoc Working Group Meeting yesterday.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the government official told The Brunei Times that the ASEAN hotline will “probably” be implemented following the first meeting.
He said more decisions will be made during the discussions that will end tomorrow.
However, he declined to comment when asked whether the hotline would meet the deadline next year.
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam last year proposed the ASEAN hotline as a practical procedure to avoid any undesired incidents at sea.
The official further said the Ad-Hoc Working Group Meeting was set up after an agreement during the technical workshop held in Brunei last August.
The main purpose of the technical workshop was to get experts from countries that have established hotline systems and learn from them, said the participant.
However, he hoped yesterday’s closed-door meeting would discuss the technical, technological and security parameters of the communication systems.
This was also brought up by Deputy Permanent Secretary (Defence Policy and Development) at the Ministry of Defence (MinDef) Abu Sufian Hj Ali in his welcoming remarks.
Abu Sufian said the technical concept revolves around the four parameters defined by the ASEAN defence ministers - permanent, rapid, reliable and confidential.
The deputy permanent secretary said progress would not have been achieved and sustained without the commitment and strong support of each of the ASEAN member states.
He added the success of the initiative can help in creating new opportunities for cooperation, especially in “advancing practical cooperation and enhancing interoperability in emergency situations”.
The Brunei Times