Asian, European FMs Cite Need for Closer Cooperation

Posted June 8th, 2011 at 1:15 am (UTC-5)
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Foreign ministers from across Europe and Asia are stressing the need for closer cooperation between their regions after two days of talks in Hungary.

In a 21-page final statement Tuesday, the participants in the Asia-Europe Meeting focused on non-traditional security challenges ranging from food security to organized crime.

Officials from 27 European and 19 Asian countries — representing more than half the world's population — took part in the meeting, which has been held every second year since 1996.

The final statement cited the need for all the participating countries to draw the lessons from the accident at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant and improve safety standards at all nuclear plants.

The countries also called for closer cooperation among countries of the Danube and Mekong river basins, both of which cross many borders and present similar challenges for residents along their banks.

The countries avoided a potentially divisive argument over who should succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the International Monetary Fund. France is promoting its finance minister, Christine Lagarde, for the post, but some Asian countries say it is time to change a longstanding tradition of always giving the job to a European.