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Cooks Prime Minister at ASEAN Summit, Nicholas acting PM

Tuesday 5 September 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Economy, National


Cooks Prime Minister at ASEAN Summit, Nicholas acting PM
Prime Minister Mark Brown with the President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo. Photo: X / JOKO WIDODO / 23090403

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown is out of the country attending a number of meetings this month. The PM's portfolio is allocated to Albert Nicolas- the Minister for Infrastructure Cook Islands- who will be the acting PM in Brown’s absence.

This week, Brown is in Indonesia for the 43rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, in his capacity as the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).

In Parliament yesterday, Member of Parliament Tingika Elikana, had to seek leave on the Prime Minister's behalf.

He confirmed that Brown was in Indonesia and would later travel for the UN General Assembly meeting in America, and later the Pacific Leaders and US summit.

Meanwhile, Brown was welcomed with a Guard of Honour in Jakarta on Sunday for the 43rd Association of Southeast

The delegation includes the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) Tepaeru Herrmann.

According to MFAI statement, they met the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo in the margins of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

During their discussions, Brown and President Widodo discussed increased cooperation, particularly through oceans and climate change, agriculture, fisheries, education, tourism, disaster management, and seabed minerals.

They also discussed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ASEAN and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) which paves the way for potential cooperation in areas of common interest.

PM Brown shared with President Widodo the Cook Islands Partnerships for Prosperity, aligned with the 2050 strategy and comprises current and new regional collective actions.

According to a social media post by President Widodo, he said: “The day before the ASEAN Summit, I held a bilateral meeting with leaders of friendly countries who were present in Jakarta. The bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Mark Brown, at the Merdeka Palace, discussed, among other things, the cooperation between the ASEAN Secretariat and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Secretariat which had been signed.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers' Meeting of the 43rd ASEAN summit convened with an emphasis on ASEAN's unity and inclusiveness.

"We are all aware of many difficult circumstances in the region. But we cannot allow them to affect our hard work in the Summit," said Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in the opening remarks, adding that ASEAN continues taking a lead in shaping regional dynamics and ensuring peace and inclusiveness in the region.

Xinhua News reports that according to Marsudi, Secretariat-to-Secretariat cooperation between ASEAN and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), as well as the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), was established on Monday, showing ASEAN's convening power and a wide acceptance of ASEAN's norms and values.

The 43rd ASEAN Summit and related summits are scheduled to be held in Jakarta from Tuesday to Thursday, with Indonesia holding this year's ASEAN chairmanship.