European Union Lauds ASEAN on Landmark Charter

Manila Bulletin, December 17, 2008 | Go to article overview

European Union Lauds ASEAN on Landmark Charter


European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) Javier Solana has extended his felicitation to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for the entry into force of its landmark Charter, noting that the bloc has become a "center of gravity" in Southeast Asia.

Seven ASEAN Foreign Ministers from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, along with the deputy foreign minister of Laos, a senior official of Cambodia, and ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan convened at the Indonesian capital of Jakarta the other day to herald the implementation of the Charter.

The meeting was chaired by Dr. Mun Patanotai, Minister of Information and Communication Technology and the Special Envoy of the Royal Thai government.

"I want to congratulate today the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter. This is a very important day for the ASEAN on its path to create a rules-based organization and the ASEAN community for the benefit of all its people," Solana said in a statement emailed to the Manila Bulletin.

The ASEAN Charter, which was adopted by the state leaders last year in Singapore, seeks to transform the Southeast Asian bloc into a rules-based intergovernmental body and to integrate the group as a single market by 2015.

"The ASEAN is becoming a center of gravity in Southeast Asia. The ASEAN Charter will provide a framework that will enable the organization to better address today's challenges and assume responsibilities to enhance peace, security and stability, as well as economic growth, and to promote the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights in the region," Solana said.

"I am looking forward to continue working with the ASEAN Secretary-General on strengthening EUASEAN relations," the EU top official said.

At Monday's Special ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting/Inaugural Meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Council at the Asean Secretariat in Jakarta, ASEAN foreign ministers agreed to have the 14th ASEAN Summit "take place in Thailand before the end of February 2009," the ASEAN Secretariat said.

The ministers "expressed their understanding for Thailand's decision to postpone the 14th ASEAN Summit. …

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