UKRAINE looks forward to further bolster economic, investment and people-to-people cooperation with Brunei Darussalam as discussions between the two countries continue to gain momentum in a number of potential areas, its visiting Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin said yesterday.
In an exclusive interview, Pavlo, who was on a two-day visit to the Sultanate, highlighted the need to steer forward various prospective spheres of cooperation, particularly in economic and people-to-people exchanges. “It is gaining momentum and we have extensive potential here… we have explored many good ideas and now we need to deliver and realise them,” he said.
Diplomatic relations between Brunei and Ukraine were established on October 3, 1997.
Pavlo earlier met his Bruneian counterpart and other top government officials, during which he held substantive discussions on ways to move forward mutual relations through the identification of concrete areas.
“We had a very good discussion, thanks to the good history we have had with Brunei… we have had exchange of high level visits from both countries and we have been enjoying a really good political relationship. This is partly why I decided to come to Brunei, because it is important to us,” he said.
Pavlo Klimkin, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine speaking with the local media. – DEAN KASSIM
As both countries mark the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations, he said the past two decades have allowed both countries to get to know each other better despite the long distance. “We believe that personal contacts and high-level visits are important to maintain the good relationship and help us in regional cooperation because Brunei is a reliable partner in the Asean region and Ukraine is a reliable country in Central Europe,” he said.
The foreign minister noted that a lot has been achieved in building diplomatic and political relations between the two countries in the past two decades, while also touching on some level of economic cooperation. “We need to do more because it is about the future and also regional cooperation based on a good track record.”
Pavlo shared that Ukraine has gained a very good traction in its agricultural exports and is looking forward to build strong cooperation in the area with Brunei and other countries in this region. “We are really big in agricultural production and we are currently doing well in different markets in this region but what we also discussed today was to explore other areas in the Asean market such as dairy and poultry products.”
He also discussed the potential for collaboration in infrastructure construction projects with Ukraine, which he said has a proven track record of completing a number of large-scale infrastructure projects with complex engineering needs such as bridges in this region, as well as highlighted other areas such as tourism and fisheries.
As Asean actively promotes itself as a melting pot of economic and investment growth and cultural diversity through its ‘One Asean, One Community’ goal, Pavlo said Ukraine is actively leveraging on the vast opportunities present in this region which he said is now showing good growth rates and sustainable development. “In the sense of being present in different countries, it is not just about politics but also the fact that the Ukrainian community is growing globally. Let’s take Singapore and Indonesia where we have a lot of software developers now and years ago we started with oil-drilling, exporting steel products, and now pharmaceuticals and also software for the oil and gas industry,” he said, noting that more of these can also be done within this region.
“We believe that Brunei is our good friend and partner in Asean region in general and Southeast Asia in particular. We would like to become a sectoral partner in Asean. We believe we can do more here in terms of economic exchange in different sectors such as agriculture – we have been getting better and better and growing in different markets.. we believe there is a good potential here,” he shared.
He also said there is a need to move forward people-to-people exchanges in the region, especially in the tourism sector, adding that more student exchanges are needed to support Ukraine’s plan to fully engage in this region. “We need the political support from Asean and the whole idea of getting closer to Asean is how to become sectoral partner of Asean,” he added.
Concluding the interview, Pavlo said he looks forward to welcoming more discussions and high-level visits between the two countries. “I believe it was really a good visit in the sense of substance and atmosphere… it will be important to build up further on the basis of what we have now,” he said.