VLADIVOSTOK, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Valentina Matvienko, chairwoman of the 21st annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF), on Monday spoke highly of the role the forum has played in facilitating inter-parliamentary exchange in the region.
Addressing the opening session of the forum in Russia's far eastern city of Vladivostok, Matvienko said the forum has served as a platform for member states to address major regional and international issues since it was established 20 years ago.
Matvienko, speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament, also expressed her hope that this year's meeting would strengthen the idea of regional integration and multilateral cooperation set out here in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit last September.
Meanwhile, Matvienko stressed the development of the Far East and Russia's integration into the Asia-Pacific region will remain priority of Russia's foreign diplomacy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sent their congratulatory messages to the forum.
In his message, Putin said the authority and influence of the forum have grown significantly in recent years.
It is important to address existing challenges and threats and to combine efforts to create a "bloc-free architecture based on principles of equal and indivisible security," said Putin.
He also called on participants to reaffirm commitments reached at former APPF meetings and to make joint efforts to promote integration, mutual trust, productive stability and prosperity in the region, thus making the Asia Pacific a driving engine for global economic growth.
Established in Tokyo in 1993, the forum is designed to promote greater cooperation among legislative bodies in the Asia-Pacific region.
Delegations from 28 APPF members and its two observers, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan, as well as some international organizations are participating in the five-day meeting.
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