Vol. 5 Num 418 Sat. July 30, 2005  
Front Page

ARF to accept Bangladesh as its member

Foreign ministers from Asia's main security forum agreed yesterday to accept Bangladesh as the group's 26th member as they wrapped up talks in the Lao capital of Vientiane.

Bangladesh's admission to the Asean Regional Forum (ARF) was recommended by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

"(The ministers) welcomed and agreed to Asean's consensus on the admission of Bangladesh as the 26th participant in the ARF," the meeting's final statement said.

Bangladesh's membership will become effective when ARF foreign ministers meet again next year in Malaysia, the statement said.

The Vientiane meeting formally accepted East Timor as the ARF's 25th member.

ARF was established in 1994 to foster dialogue and consultation on political and security issues.

In addition to Asean members Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, it groups the European Union and 14 other nations, including the United States, China and Japan.