The close friendship between His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II lies at the heart of strong bilateral ties between Brunei Darussalam and United Kingdom (UK).
This was highlighted by British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam John Virgoe during a speech at an event to celebrate the queen’s platinum jubilee to mark 70 years of service to the people of UK and the Commonwealth.
The garden party-style celebration took place at the British High Commissioner’s residence.
The high commissioner said, “The highlight was the visit by His Majesty to the UK in December 2021. I was honoured to be present with Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof as His Majesty was received by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“Also notable was His Majesty’s visit to Devon for the graduation of His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen from the UK’s All Arms Commando Course – a remarkable achievement. The visit also saw the launch of the new UK-Brunei strategic dialogue.”
Earlier in the year, he said, “the UK became ASEAN’s latest dialogue partner. We are grateful to Brunei – and personally to His Majesty, Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan and our friends at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – for championing our application. Brunei is now our ASEAN country coordinator, helping us deepen our ties with ASEAN”.
He also mentioned about a senior Bruneian delegation at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow and was delighted by the Sultanate’s ambitious commitments to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, phasing out the use of coal and continuing to protect Brunei’s forests.
Defence ties, he said, “have also prospered, as illustrated in our photo display just outside this marquee.
“I would like to pay tribute to the 1st Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles, who will shortly complete a five-year tour at the British Garrison. I am grateful for all they have done to deepen UK-Brunei defence relations – and for the huge contribution they have made since last August to support the Ministry of Health’s COVID response”.
On COVID-19, the high commissioner congratulated and commended His Majesty’s government on their skillful handling of the crisis.
Meanwhile, the Rotary Club of Bandar Seri Begawan hosted a beacon lighting event to mark the queen’s jubilee. (It is a tradition to light beacons during royal jubilees).
The event was held at Rotary House in Lambak and attended by the high commissioner who gave a speech on its significance. A choir from Yippy Tune Music School sang A Life Lived with Grace to mark the occasion.