Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Australia have reaffirmed their strong determination to further strengthen strategic partnership.

Both sides underscored this commitment at the 7th ASEAN-Australia Joint Cooperation Committee Meeting, held here on June 16, the ASEAN Secretariat noted in a statement, Tuesday.

The ASEAN and Australia have agreed to work together in promoting peace, security, and prosperity in the region as well as addressing regional challenges.

The ASEAN has lauded Australia for its strong support for realizing ASEAN centrality as well as for facilitating ASEANs integration efforts through the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

Australia will continue to deepen cooperation and intensify consultations within the ASEAN-led mechanisms, such as the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum, and ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus to promote peace and stability in the region.

The meeting highlighted the progress made in the implementation of the ASEAN-Australia Plan of Action (2015-2019) across all ASEAN Community pillars. Australia has also reaffirmed its commitment to support ASEAN integration through the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Programme Phase II, with a total contribution of up to AU$ 57.8 million. The ASEAN looks forward to Australias continued support for the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 and the Initiative for the ASEAN Integration Work Plan III.

Noting the importance of economic ties between both sides, the meeting lauded the achievements made under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and its Economic Cooperation Support Programme. It also welcomed the commencement of the General Review of AANZFTA in making it more business-friendly.

Both sides exchanged views on the future direction of the ASEAN-Australia Dialogue Relations and highlighted the importance of enhancing cooperation in strategic areas, such as counterterrorism; cyber security; trade and investment; development of micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises; sustainable infrastructure; supply chains; and tourism.

The ASEAN and Australia are looking forward to the convening of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Sydney on March 17-18, 2018, which will be preceded by a Counter-Terrorism Conference and a Business Summit. Preparations are underway to ensure concrete outcomes, so as to further enhance strategic partnership in the years to come.

Co-chaired by Ambassador Min Lwin, permanent representative of Myanmar to the ASEAN, and Australia Ambassador to the ASEAN Elizabeth Jane Duke, the meeting was attended by the permanent representatives of ASEAN member states and representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos are the ASEAN member countries.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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