A FAREWELL luncheon was hosted by the diplomatic corps for three outgoing foreign envoys to Brunei Darussalam namely Russian Ambassador Victor Seleznev, US Ambassador Daniel L Shields and Chinese Ambassador Zheng Xianglin yesterday.
The event began with a speech delivered by former Dean of the Diplomatic Corps Ambassador Seleznev, who also showed a photograph collection of him, Shields and Zheng attending various events during their service in the Sultanate.
While presenting the slideshow, Seleznev lauded Shields and his wife Sangeeta for their positive way of thinking, cooperation and outstanding personal qualities throughout their four-year stint in Brunei.
“Respect and admiration of friends and colleagues from both the diplomatic corps and the governmental circles of Brunei is indeed the best sign of recognition of the intensive work and efforts in implementing the foreign policy of his country,” said Seleznev of Shields.
The Russian envoy also commended Zheng and his wife Liu Guixiang who had always been part of the vibrant and active diplomatic family, who also became recognised and respected members of the large Chinese community in Brunei.
“They are going to be truly missed by their friends and colleagues from diplomatic corps and Bruneian governmental circles,” said Seleznev.
Meanwhile, Shields in his speech expressed his gratitude for the cooperation and friendship extended by members of diplomatic corps.
“Looking at the photos I saw some of the things we did together as diplomatic corps like the rowing regatta. It’s something that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. And the fact that we all get together and row as one team, I think it is really a symbol of the excellent friendship within the diplomatic corps,” said Shields.
Touching on the US-Brunei relationship during his four-year tenure in the Sultanate, he mentioned, among others, the visit of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, to meet US President Barack Obama in Washington in March 2013.
Another extraordinary programme was the Brunei-US English Language Enrichment Project for ASEAN, through which Brunei and the United States work together to help make ASEAN even more cohesive and stronger in using English Language as a common means of strengthening the ASEAN, he said.
His next assignment will be at the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Speaking to the audience, Zheng said he would take with him fond memories of his time in Brunei.
“My three years in Brunei has been quite a memorable experience. I have to say I have been posted in too many countries but throughout my duties in Brunei, the emotional attachment is most unique among the diplomatic corps,” said Zheng who has been in the Foreign Service for nearly 40 years.
He lauded Brunei’s role in successfully chairing the ASEAN Summit last year and highlighted the high-level visits made by Chinese officials to the Sultanate. He said that he was also very delighted at having accompanied His Majesty during his second State Visit to China last year.
Philippines Ambassador to Brunei Nestor Ochoa was introduced as the new Dean of Diplomatic Corps, following the completion of Seleznev’s tour of duty in Brunei.
“His Excellency Seleznev has been instrumental in collectively connecting us with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and consequently with the Government of Brunei Darussalam, enabling us to strengthen our ties with our host country and allowing us to forge friendships with one another,” said Ochoa in his speech.
Present to bid adieu yesterday were foreign envoys and their spouses at StarLodge in Jerudong.
The Brunei Times