Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggar (ANTARA) - Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Kao Kim Hourn, has said that the bloc's Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) mechanism would provide great benefits to the people residing in the region.

“The ASEAN and BIMP-EAGA mechanism can provide great benefits to the people of the region, while continuing to maintain peace, security, and stability, both at the regional and global levels," Hourn observed during the 42nd ASEAN Summit in Labuan Bajo on Thursday, the final day of the summit.

The same day, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim chaired a closed-door meeting of countries that are parties to the BIMP-EAGA. Malaysia is currently holding BIMP-EAGA chairmanship.

The meeting discussed a number of concepts related to documents that are reported to heads of state, namely, the BIMP-EAGA Minister's Report to Leaders, which outlines cooperation achievements under the five priority pillars -- food basket, connectivity, tourism, environment, and sociocultural education.

Leaders of the participating countries are scheduled to sign a Joint Leaders' Statement on achieving the BIMP-EAGA Vision 2025.

Also on Thursday, President Joko Widodo chaired the 15th Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) Summit meeting.

The President said that IMT-GT must encourage inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the midst of global challenges and uncertainties.

According to him, the trade volume of IMT-GT has been relatively good, with the value of trade reaching US$618 million, or equivalent to Rp9,089.23 trillion, despite the challenges raised by the global crisis.

IMT-GT is an economic cooperation framework that aims to boost the welfare and economic growth of the people residing in the border regions of IMT-GT countries. Through the framework, the three countries have continued to promote the tourism sector to make it a machine of growth.

The Indonesian regions that are included in the cooperation framework are Aceh, Bangka Belitung, Bengkulu, Jambi, Lampung, South Sumatra, Riau, Riau Islands, North Sumatra, and West Sumatra.

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Translator: Muhammad Heriyanto, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Sri Haryati
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