Asian, African nations reaffirm commitment to enhanced cooperation, fairer int'l order

The two-day Asian-African summit concluded here on Thursday, highlighting carrying forward the Bandung Spirit, enhancing win-win cooperation and building a more rational international order.

The summit, under the theme "Strengthening South-South Cooperation to Promote World Peace and Prosperity," ended with the adoption of three documents.

"We have successfully adopted three important outcome documents: the Bandung Message, the Declaration on Re-invigorating the New Asian African Strategic Partnership (NAASP) and the Declaration on Palestine," Indonesian President Joko Widodo said at the closing ceremony.

The Spirit of Bandung, as enshrined in at the first Asian- African Conference in 1955, or the Bandung Conference, remains solid, pertinent and effective as a foundation for nurturing stronger relations among Asian-African countries, according to the 41-item Bandung Message.

"It continues to provide guidance to resolve regional and global issues of common concern in accordance with the relevant principles of the Charter of the United Nations," said the message.

The Bandung Spirit, which highlighted solidarity, friendship and cooperation, is still relevant as the world is still imbalanced, far from fairness and peace, said the Indonesian president.

The summit has successfully set up real steps to follow up cooperation in concrete ways which are stipulated in declaration of strengthening NAASP, he said.

Through the NAASP declaration, leaders of Asian-African nations reaffirmed their commitment to expanding, deepening and solidifying the long-standing cooperation between the two continents.

Asian and African countries have committed to further strengthening collaboration in developing "reliable and affordable infrastructure," with the goal of increasing regional connectivity and boosting trade, investment, bankable projects and assistance, industrial development and maritime cooperation, the declaration said.

The Indonesian president said that leaders and delegates from Asian and African countries worked hard to produce concrete steps in ensuring the financial availability for infrastructure development, among others, through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Leaders have also committed to enhancing cooperation in other fields including countering terrorism, combating transnational organized crimes, promoting food and energy security, and advancing the blue economy and maritime-based economy, according to the document.

The summit recognized the centrality of the maritime sector as well as the strategic importance of the Indian Ocean in bridging the economic development in Asia and Africa, said Co-chairman of the summit and Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

"Maritime cooperation will become one of the pillars of the New Asian African Strategic Partnership," he said.

Meanwhile, the leaders of Asian and African countries also reaffirmed their "full support of the just struggle of the Palestinian people to regain their inalienable right to self- determination, including the realization of the sovereignty and independence of their State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital," said the declaration on Palestine.

According to the declaration, the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an agreement which ends the illegal Israeli occupation that began in 1967, resolve all permanent status issues. And a just, lasting and comprehensive settle of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is imperative for achieving peace and security in the region.

In this document, Asian and African leaders also commended the capacity-building programs provided by the countries of Asia and Africa to support the development and strengthening of Palestinian national institutions, which are vital for a viable Palestinian government.

Telling reporters at the end of the two-day meeting, Indonesian President Widodo emphasized the importance of strengthening South- South cooperation through initiatives and programs of capacity development as well as technical cooperation.

"As I have said, countries located around the equator have a central role to strengthen this cooperation," he said.

The summit has successfully set up real steps to follow up cooperation in concrete ways which are stipulated in declaration of strengthening NAASP, said the Indonesian president.

The summit sets up operational mechanism on supervision, and foreign ministers of Asian and African countries are also asked to conduct a meeting in every two years at the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, he told reporters.

The leaders also agreed to declare April 24 as Asia-Africa Day and Bandung as the capital city of solidarity of Asia-Africa.

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