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01 march

The 25th anniversary of the Asia-Europe Forum

March 1 marked Asia-Europe Meeting Day (ASEM). This year, we are celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Since joining the association in 2010, Russia has been involved in promoting practical cooperation across a variety of fields, including the implementation of specific industry-related projects. As a coordinator of the Asian ASEM group (we started performing these functions in the second half of 2019), we have been targeting the forum’s efforts to build up continental interconnection in all its aspects and manifestations with the formation of a single Eurasian interregional cooperation format.

Russia’s initiatives in the ASEM include a high-level conference on intercivilisational dialogue (St Petersburg, 2014), meetings of senior education officials (Moscow, 2016), as well as the implementation of a summer youth university project (Vladivostok, Chita and Irkutsk, 2016).

In 2019, we proactively launched the STIpot² digital academic mobility platform as a communication channel between the ASEM countries’ research and education communities. To date, over 2,500 researchers, teachers and students from Asia and Europe have become registered users.

In the first half of 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia came up with a proposal to build transcontinental supply chains via rail transport. At the same time, we are among the curators of the ASEM project for implementing advanced technological solutions in customs cooperation.

The adoption by the foreign ministers of a declaration on combating COVID-19 in the format of the ASEM Group of Five was one of the forum’s accomplishments last year. The group includes regional coordinators (Russia, the EU, Germany and Singapore) and Cambodia as chair of the 13th ASEM summit scheduled for the autumn of 2021.

In the context of preparations for the above summit, we see good prospects for achieving positive and very tangible results in post-pandemic socioeconomic recovery. Many ASEM states want us to share our experience and practical results in countering COVID-19. We will continue to share our expertise in this area with our partners.

This year, we came up with an important humanitarian initiative to establish direct contacts between volunteer associations in Asian and European countries. As we saw last year, these movements have played and continue to play a cementing civic role in our fight against pandemic-related challenges.

At a meeting of senior ASEM officials held on March 1-2 via videoconference, we once again advocated a pragmatic and depoliticised approach to promoting multilateralcooperation.

Excerpt from the Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Moscow, March 4, 2021: https://bit.ly/2OA2Bng.