Asian, African ministers meet to boost South-South cooperation

by Zhang Ning, Lu Juan

JAKARTA, April 20 -- Ministers from Asian and African countries met here on Monday, pledging to implement the Bandung Spirit, which highlights the South-South cooperation.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told the ministerial meeting ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Asian-African Conference (AAC), also known as Bandung Conference, that a Bandung Message is expected to be released during the commemoration later this week.

"To implement it (the Bangdung Message), we will have the NAASP (the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership). To support the NAASP, we have the South-South cooperation," said the minister.

Retno said senior officials discussed implementation of the Bandung Message and other documents relating to the NAASP at their meeting on Sunday.

The NAASP was launched at the previous event of the Asian- African Summit, which was held in Indonesia in 2005.

She believed that the South-South cooperation among developing countries will produce an operational mechanism for the Bandung Message.

The minister said the Palestine issue will be on the agenda of the Asian-African Summit 2015 and the Commemoration of the 60th AAC 1955, which will run on April 22-24.

She also called for united support of developing countries for the two-state solution of the Palestine issue.

Monday's meeting was in preparation for the summit and the 60th anniversary of the AAC, following Sunday's senior officials meeting.

This year's gathering is themed Reinvigorating of the NAASP.

The upcoming events are to "herald a new chapter" for the Asian- African cooperation, said the Indonesian minister.

She said the meetings will enable Asia and Africa to enhance the structural and systematic cooperation.

Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Armanatha Nasir has told the local media that officials are weighing to launch "an Asian- African permanent forum."

The commemoration is expected to produce three documents - the Bandung Message, the Declaration of Reinvigorating the NAASP and the Declaration for Palestine.

"The specific proposal to establish a permanent forum for Asian and African nations was mentioned in the second document," the spokesman was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying.

Delegations from 29 Asian and African countries attended the first Bandung Conference in Indonesia's West Java in 1955.

The 1955 conference, which signaled the emergence of developing countries as a rising force in the world arena, resulted in the Non-Aligned Movement and the formation of the Third World.

A communique was released during the historic event with 10 principles handling international relations, which is branded as the Bandung Spirit.

According to the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, 33 heads of state and government as well as representatives from 77 countries have confirmed their attendance at this year's meeting.