Saudi Arabia to host 26th session of UNWTO’s General Assembly in 2025

Saudi Arabia to host 26th session of UNWTO’s General Assembly in 2025
Saudi Arabia to host 26th session of UNWTO’s General Assembly in 2025

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Leaders from Southeast Asia have been arriving in the Saudi capital for the first Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Gulf Cooperation Council Summit on Friday.

Although the two organizations established relations in 1990, the gathering will be their maiden summit with the aim of optimizing cooperation between the regional blocs.

ASEAN Secretary-General Dr. Kao Kim Hourn will lead the association’s delegation to the summit which will conclude with the issuing of a joint statement on its outcomes and cooperation plans for 2024 to 2028.

Malaysia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Zambry Abdul Kadir on Thursday told reporters at the Malaysian Embassy in Riyadh that his country would be looking to strengthen relations with Gulf countries while attending the summit.

He said: “As the ASEAN coordinator for this historic summit, Malaysia has been entrusted to assist Saudi Arabia’s preparations in its capacity as the host.”

For Southeast Asian leaders, the meeting also offers an opportunity to seek assistance from Gulf states on issues related to energy security.

In a statement, Singapore’s Foreign Ministry said: “At the summit, the ASEAN-GCC leaders will discuss ways to strengthen relations and expand cooperation to new and emerging areas such as the green and digital economies.”

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomed delegates as they arrived in the Saudi capital.

During a meeting with the crown prince at Al Yamamah Palace in Riyadh, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong discussed cooperation between the two countries and regional and international issues of mutual concern.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Uwaisheg, GCC assistant secretary-general for political affairs and negotiations, said: “The timing of this participation is crucial, especially in terms of the events and circumstances the region is going through.”

The crown prince also met Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday. Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. arrived on Thursday.

The GCC comprises Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the UAE, while the ASEAN bloc is made up of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and the Philippines.

The value of trade between ASEAN nations currently stands at more than $110 billion.

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