Ulaanbaatar, July 14, 2016/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
The 11th Asia-Europe Summit (ASEM11, Summit) is to commence tomorrow in Ulaanbaatar, capital city of Mongolia, under the theme “20 Years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity”.
ASEM11 will be the highest-level international event Mongolia has ever hosted. Under the chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Elbegdorj Tsakhia, President of Mongolia, leaders and delegates from 51 countries, the European Union and ASEAN are participating in the Summit. Presidents and Vice Presidents from 11 countries, Prime Ministers from 23 countries, 16 Foreign Ministers, as well as the President of the European Council Donald Tusk and the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker along with Secretary-General of ASEAN Le Luong Minh are attending the Summit.
The two-day Summit will start at 9am on Thursday, 15th of July, with an opening ceremony, followed by a session on four ASEM forums held in Mongolia leading up to ASEM11, the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP), the Asia-Europe People’s Forum (AEPF), the Asia-Europe Business Forum (AEBF) and the Model ASEM.
The Summit will have two plenary sessions under the titles of ‘Two decades of partnership: taking stock and looking forward’ and ‘Promoting ASEM partnership for greater connectivity’. Session One will assess the 20-year experience of political dialogue, economic cooperation and socio-cultural exchange between Asia and Europe. At the second session, discussions will continue on developing both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ connectivity between the two continents.
Upon attending the Summit, delegates are welcomed to participate in the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of ASEM. At the celebration, the delegates will have an opportunity to experience Mongolian ‘Nomadic Naadam’ festival. This year is marking the 810th anniversary of the establishment of the Great Mongol Empire.
On Saturday, 16th of July, a retreat session under the title of ‘Enhancing the three pillars of ASEM’ will take place. The session will look into both regional and international issues including counter-terrorism and migration. Following the closing ceremony, ASEM Coordinators’ Press Conference will be held by Mr. Elbegdorj Tsakhia, President of Mongolia, Mr. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Mr. Htin Kyaw, President of Myanmar, and Mr. Robert Fico, Prime Minister of Slovakia.
The Summit will end with the Chair’s Statement followed by “Ulaanbaatar Declaration” on the Future of ASEM, marking the ASEM’s 20th Anniversary.
In parallel to the Summit, various bilateral meetings will be taking place.