PH Highlights Latin, ASEAN Connections at Ibero-America Associate Observers’ Meeting

Usec Abella OAA 1

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Strategic Communications and Research Ernesto C. Abella during the Associate Observers’ Meeting at the sidelines of the 27th Ibero-American Summit on 16 April 2021 with co-chairs Minister of Foreign Affairs of Andorra Maria Ubach Font (top right) and Ibero-American Secretary-General Rebecca Grynspan (bottom right) (DFA-OUSCR and Madrid PE photo)

PASAY CITY 19 April 2021 – Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Strategic Communications and Research Ernesto C. Abella underscored the Philippines’ role as intermediary between the Ibero-American and ASEAN communities during his intervention in the Ibero-American Associate Observers’ Meeting held virtually on 16 April 2021.

Speaking on this shared connections, Undersecretary Abella said, “The Philippines and the Ibero-American community have shared deep roots in culture and history, a common narrative that fosters connections and partnerships, which all began on 16 March 1521 and as the only ASEAN country among the Associate Observers, the Philippines is in a unique place to be a crossroad...for more active engagements between Southeast Asia and the Ibero-American community.” 

The Philippines also expressed interest in advancing cooperation with the Ibero-American community in trade, tourism, people-to-people exchanges, vaccine cooperation and fight against COVID-19, among others. 

Meanwhile, aside from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC), Undersecretary Abella underscored the important role of the Philippines in revitalizing exchanges between ASEAN and various regional organizations in the Ibero-America, such as the Mercado Común del Sur (MERCOSUR), the Pacific Alliance, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). This comes at a time when the Philippines assumes its role as the Country Coordinator for ASEAN-MERCOSUR relations in 2021.

The Associate Observers’ Meeting was held at the sidelines of the 27th Ibero-American Summit, the annual gathering of heads of governments and states of Spanish and Portuguese-speaking nations, which will be convened virtually on 21 April 2021 with the theme, “Innovation for Sustainable Development - 2030 Goals.” END