Statement with Negara Brunei Darussalam
December 16, 2002
President Bush and His Majesty, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, today pledged
to reinforce the friendship between the peoples of the United States and of
Brunei Darussalam, and to pursue our common interests of peace, prosperity,
and stability in Southeast Asia.
The two leaders recommitted themselves to the global war on terror, declaring
terrorism a threat to all civilized societies and the exploitation of religion
to promote violence an abomination. President Bush and His Majesty reiterated
the importance of strengthening international cooperation in combating terrorism
in a comprehensive manner and affirmed the importance of working with multilateral
institutions, including the United Nations. The two leaders also recognized
the importance of promoting tolerance and understanding amongst the diverse
cultures, societies, and religions.
The President praised Brunei Darussalam's long tradition of religious tolerance
and cooperation with its neighbors, friends, and partners. In the wake of the
tragic Bali bombings, the President and His Majesty agreed on the need to strengthen
cooperation to identify and destroy terrorist networks; exchange information
and intelligence about terrorists and terrorist organizations; disrupt the movement
of terrorists and the tools of terror across international borders; and cut
off sources of funding for terrorist acts, especially in Southeast Asia. His
Majesty welcomed President Bush's offer to assist Brunei Darussalam in building
its capacity to counter terrorism.
The President welcomed the recent accession of the Government of His Majesty
the Sultan and Yand Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to the International Convention
for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. The President and His Majesty
also look forward to cooperating with other ASEAN partners in supporting the
proposed regional counterterrorism center in Malaysia.
President Bush expressed appreciation for Brunei Darussalam's contribution toward
the humanitarian relief efforts and reconstruction of Afghanistan. Such contributions
demonstrate the compassion of the Government and people of Brunei in its commitment
to build a peaceful, prosperous Afghanistan.
The President and His Majesty welcomed the growing, mutually beneficial bilateral
defense relationship between the United States and Brunei Darussalam, and reaffirmed
their desire to see such cooperation increase.
The two leaders agreed on the importance of a strong and united ASEAN, and President
Bush offered all appropriate assistance to support capacity-building within
ASEAN. President Bush praised Brunei Darussalam's strong leadership role in
ASEAN in recent years, and reaffirmed our commitment to expand U.S. engagement
with ASEAN as a pillar of stability in Southeast Asia. The two leaders agreed
on the importance of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and APEC in promoting regional
stability and prosperity. The President welcomed Brunei Darussalam's support
for our Secure Trade in the APEC Region, or "STAR," initiative, aimed
at transforming the movement of goods and people to increase both security and
economic competitiveness. The President pledged to work with the Government
of Brunei Darussalam to assist Brunei Darussalam in building its own capacity
to provide increased border and customs security and efficiency.
His Majesty welcomed President Bush's Enterprise for ASEAN Initiative, or "EAI,"
as an initiative designed to promote increased investment, economic growth,
and free trade between the United States and ASEAN countries. The President
and His Majesty welcomed the signing of a bilateral Trade and Investment Framework
Agreement (TIFA). This TIFA will provide the foundation for increased trade
and economic cooperation between Brunei Darussalam and the United States as
both economies adapt to the economic challenges of the 21st century. The two
sides agreed to coordinate their efforts bilaterally, regionally, and multilaterally,
including working together to complete successfully the Doha Development Agenda.
To further deepen understanding between our two nations, the President and His
Majesty have pledged to increase educational opportunities for Bruneian students,
government officials, and other professionals to study and train in the United
States. Toward this end, the President announced the establishment of a Fulbright
Program in Brunei.
The President and His Majesty also reiterated their mutual commitment to advance
the rule of law and to promote respect for human rights, including freedom of
religion, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and cherished
by the people of both the United States and Brunei Darussalam.