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27 Feb 2008

Group to start work on charter as ratification process goes on

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will start implementing tasks contained in its charter although the document has yet to be ratified by all of its member countries, Antara news agency reported.

Asean Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said such good ideas in the charter as formation of a Human Rights Council, efforts toward Asean's integration by 2015 and improving the welfare of all people in Asean would begin to be implemented although a few other ideas such as the use of Asean passports would possibly have to be postponed until a more appropriate time.

Surin said all ASEAN member countries had declared their preparedness to ratify the charter by  2008 so that they could celebrate it at their summit in Bangkok in December 2008. But this was what was hoped for or the goal and not a must, he added.

The Asean foreign ministers at an informal  meeting in Singapore last week had expressed their governments' ability to pass through all the procedures existing in their respective countries to ratify the Asean Charter.

Until February 2008, four ASEAN member countries, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Laos and  Brunei, had ratified the charter.





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