Leaders from across SouthEast Asia converged in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia on Friday for a historic summit of nations from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The summit, which is the first of its kind, held against the backdrop of the strategic location of the Southeast Asian region, which has become a centre of attraction for both regional and international business interests.
Although the two organizations established relations in 1990, they are holding this crucial summit for the first time with the aim of optimizing cooperation and exploring new opportunities on multiple fronts between the regional blocs.
The gathering also offers an opportunity for the Southeast ASEAN leaders to seek assistance from Gulf states on issues related to energy security.
Discussions were largely focused on how to enhance and leverage existing potentials and even break new grounds in critical areas such as green and digital economies as well as renewable energy.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan harped on the need for a stronger relations with ASEAN, saying it will contribute to realizing the aspirations of all countries towards achieving sustainable development goals, enhancing collective efforts, and creating new developmental and economic opportunities for all.
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This summit is holding at a time of renewed hostilities between Israel and Hamas.
In the wake of the latest Middle East crisis, there have been severe damages and fatalities from both sides of the divide.
Leaders here are calling for a ceasefire to enable the warring parties to find lasting solutions to the age-long conflict
Participants also welcomed the opening up of the gulf states and their willingness to relate with the eastern part of the world, a development which, according to them, will help further strengthen the Asian economy
(Editor: Anoyoyo Ogiagboviogie)