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January 7, 2008

Surin to formally take up secretary-general post Monday

Thailand’s former foreign minister Surin Pitsuwan will formally take up his post as Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) secretary-general in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on Monday, a senior Thai Foreign Ministry official said.

Withavat Srivihok, director-general of the Asean Affairs Department, said about 150 senior Asean officials and diplomats would witness the event.

Mr. Surin, a former member of the Democrat Party, Thailand’s oldest political party, will become the second Thai citizen to take up the Asean secretary-general post after Pan Wannamethee, currently secretary-general of the Thai Red Cross and former senior Foreign Ministry officer.

But Mr. Surin will be the first Thai politician to hold the Asean secretary-general post, said Mr. Withavat, adding he should receive better trust from international organizations and this would assist Asean to advance.

The 10 member nations of Asean in 2007 pledged to ratify the Asean Charter and this should further boost the role of the ASEAN secretary-general after it was implemented, Mr. Surin added.

Courtesy TNA

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