KUALA LUMPUR: The Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah today granted an audience to Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin at Istana Nurul Iman in conjunction with the minister’s official visit to the country.

The Defence Ministry in a statement said the meeting was among the programmes during the visit, which kicked off yesterday, aimed at strengthening bilateral defence and military relations.

It said, in the meeting, Mohamed Khaled also expressed appreciation for Malaysia-Brunei’s close cooperation at regional and international levels including collaboration with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Yesterday, Mohamed Khaled and his delegation, who arrived at Rimba Air Force Base in Brunei, were received by Brunei Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence Brigadier-General (rtd) Datuk Seri Pahlawan Alirupendi Perudin, Commander of the Brunei Royal Air Force Brigadier-General (U) Datuk Seri Pahlawan Mohammad Sharif Dato Paduka Ibrahim and Brunei Acting Director of Defence Policy, Ministry of Defence Dayang Marina Abdullah Sitau.

Mohamed Khaled paid a courtesy call to the Minister-at-the-Prime Minister’s Office and Brunei Defence Minister II Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major-General (rtd) Datuk Paduka Seri Awang Halbi Mohd Yussof.

“During the session, both ministers reiterated their commitment to enhancing existing bilateral defence and military relations and increasing cooperation through bilateral and multilateral platforms.

“The ministers said the official visit is evidence of the strong bond and dynamic bilateral defence relations between the countries apart from providing an opportunity to further enhance strategic partnerships,” it said.

Malaysia and Brunei have long-standing bilateral relations following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding involving defence on Feb 14, 1994.

According to the statement, Mohamed Khaled emphasised the need to further solidify the existing good relations, while expressing appreciation to the Brunei government for the assistance in the mission to search for a soldier from the 7th Battalion Border Regiment who went missing at the Malaysia-Brunei border recently.