Burma continues to expand its ties to the world community with its admission to the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP) grouping at the Seventh ASEP meeting in Vientiane on Wednesday.
Australia, New Zealand and Russia were also admitted during the opening session.
ASEP has 47 members: 16 countries in Asia, 28 in Europe, two in Oceania and the European Parliament, and three observers, Bangladesh, Norway and Switzerland.
ASEP is part of a partnership process between Asia and Europe and serves as a forum for inter-parliamentary contacts, country exchanges and diplomacy among parliaments. It aims to promote mutual understanding among the people and countries of Asia and Europe and provide a link between parliaments of Asia and Europe.
In Vientiane, lead speakers from China, Finland, South Korea and the IMF will present reports on ensuring food security and on strengthening Asia-Europe cooperation in the field of public debts for sustainable development.
Speakers from Belgium, Indonesia and UNISDR (United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction) will present reports on Asia-Europe partnership in increasing social participation for disaster management.
The first ASEP meeting was held in Strasbourg, France, in 1996. ASEP meetings are normally convened on a regular bi-annual basis alternately in Asia and in Europe before the ASEM Summit.