SAN FRANCISCO: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he is glad that Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia adopted a firm and common stand on the Gaza issue at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting here on Friday.

“I am proud that in this matter, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei are united and firm.

“His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei (Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah) did touch on the conflict in the Middle East. Indonesian President Jokowi spoke about the atrocities in Gaza,” he told the Malaysian media at the end of his visit to the United States on Friday.

As expected, the APEC Economies failed to reach a consensus on a paragraph proposed by the US on the geopolitical issue involving Russia and Ukraine.

Anwar arrived here on Nov 13 to attend the 30th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting from Nov 14-17.

As this geopolitical issue was brought to the APEC platform, Malaysia discussed it with like-minded Economies and agreed to introduce a paragraph on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Anwar said.

As a compromise, the US as host agreed to remove the geopolitical element from both the AELM and AMM statements and would present the geopolitical issue in the Chair’s Statement only.

At the same time, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia will issue a Joint Statement expressing a firm stand and clearer views on discussions about the Gaza humanitarian crisis at APEC 2023.

Only in the Chair’s Statement on the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting did they mention Gaza.

It said, “We exchanged views on the ongoing crisis in Gaza. Leaders, including the United States, shared their respective positions. Some Leaders also shared the united messages of the Joint Arab-Islamic Summit in Riyadh on 11 November 2023.”

Some leaders objected to the inclusion of this language in the accompanying 2023 APEC Leaders’ Golden Gate Declaration on the basis that they do not believe that APEC is a forum to discuss geopolitical issues, said Anwar.

“Overall, I am happy because it is an important position. We are not members of adversarial or combative, but we take the position as friends,” said Anwar, when asked if he was happy with the overall participation in APEC 2023.

“I didn’t use the forum to condemn but to appeal. To stop the atrocities that are happening in Gaza,” he said.

According to Anadolu Agency quoting the Palestine government media office, the Palestinian death toll in the ongoing crisis since Oct 7 has surged past 12,000.

Also present at the press conference were Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil, Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz, Malaysia’s Ambassador to the United States Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz and the Consul General of Malaysia in Los Angeles, Anil Fahriza Adenan.

Earlier, the Prime Minister met about 400 members of the Malaysian diaspora, the majority of whom were students. A gamut of questions and issues were discussed, including dual citizenship, the ringgit and brain drain. - Bernama