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ASEAN leaders bat for tighter cooperation on energy security measures

 CEBU, Philippines – With the high cost of energy continuing to cast a shadow over the economies of the region, leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed on Sunday to strengthen regional cooperation on energy security to ensure a stable and affordable supply over the long term.
In her report as chairperson of the 12th ASEAN Summit after the conclusion of their meetings Saturday, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said the ASEAN leaders expressed serious concern over the negative impact of high oil prices on the economic growth and development not only on their respective country but on the region.
To address this problem, President Arroyo said the ASEAN agreed as a strategic approach, to strengthen and promote ASEAN energy cooperation, especially in key ASEAN infrastructure projects, including the ASEAN power grid and Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline.
The ultimate goal of the ASEAN leaders is to create an open energy market, the President said.
The Cebu Declaration on Energy Security was signed this afternoon by the 16 leaders of ASEAN and its dialogue partners who attended the 2nd East Asia Summit at the Main Briefing Room of the Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue City.
The President said that they also stressed the need to improve energy use efficiency and the diversification of energy supply by developing alternative sources such as biofuels and civilian nuclear power.
The leaders also agreed to pay close attention to the security, environmental, health and safety dimensions of the energy sector and tasked their respective officials concerned to look into regional nuclear safety regime, she said.
The East Asia Summit brought together the 10 member countries of ASEAN and their six dialogue partners — Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, and Republic of Korea.
The agreement aims to help the countries in the region reduce their dependence on conventional fuels through intensified energy efficiency programs, expansion of renewable energy systems and biofuel production and utilization.

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