Brunei-Germany ties lauded

The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Dato Seri Paduka (Dr.) Haji Awang Hussain, lauded diplomatic relations between Brunei and Germany that have been strengthened over two decades and said that more opportunities are to be explored to further enhance ties.

The minister said this during a reception to mark for the 14th Reunification Day of the Federal Republic of Germany at the Empire Hotel and Country Club on Tuesday evening.

As the guest of honour, the minister delivered his opening remarks by conveying a congratulatory message on behalf of the Government of His Majesty to the Government and the people of the Federal Republic of Germany.

He also outlined some of the significant developments between Germany and Brunei in the past year. Firstly, he was delighted to see the ratification of an agreement on the encouragement and reciprocal protection of investment which took place on May 15. It is hoped that the development will soon lead to some tangible cooperation for the benefits of both countries, he said.

In July this year, the Brunei Economic Development Board hosted a delegation from the Malaysian German Chamber of Commerce and Industry to discuss trade and investment. The minister regarded the visit as an encouragement for future realisation of business ventures.

He also applauded Germany's interest in assisting the developing countries, which is important in promoting understanding between the developed and the developing world.

In concluding the speech, the guest of honour wished the newly appointed German Ambassador to Brunei, Mr Conrad Karl Cappell, his wife and the people of Germany a happy celebration.

The German Ambassador, Mr Cappell, in his speech said that modern Germany's economy has grown tremendously after 14 years of unification. The nation recorded 4 percent GDP every year amounting to some 80 billion euros and the money is transferred to East Germany in order to make it a more competitive and attractive area for investment, he said.

Now major German and international companies such as BMW, Daimler Chrysler, Porsche and Volkswagen as well as chip manufacturers set up factories in East Germany.

He added that structural reforms are already underway in West and East Germany to redesign the welfare state and to address its social and security issues, a process which became known as agenda 2010 which aims to reduce unemployment and provide incentives for jobs.

The German Ambassador also applauded HRH Princess Masna's address to the UN General Assembly, which underlined the need for an expanded and a more representative security council.

Mr Cappell noted that this year, Germany and Brunei celebrated 20 years of harmonious bilateral relations.

He said both nations share a common preference for peaceful solutions to conflicts, the option for regional cooperation and integration, and the straightening and reform of the UN mechanism for peaceful solutions.

Lastly, he stated that Germany has been impressed by Brunei's approach in defending its own position with self- assured modesty, by its initiatives and plans to diversify its economy and its desire to attract foreign direct investment, as well as by the reforms of its constitution and reestablishment of the legislative council.

After both speeches, the guest of honour and the German Ambassador with their respective spouses cut the anniversary cake to mark the occasion of the German unity.

The German Ambassador also presented a souvenir to the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports. Also present at the celebration were foreign dignitaries and senior government officials.


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