ASEAN restructures secretariat

Published by rudy Date posted on March 25, 2009

JAKARTA – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations announced Wednesday it has revamped the structure of its secretariat as part of its bid to form an EU-style community by 2015.

The restructuring will see the Jakarta-based secretariat divided into four separate departments covering economic, political and security, community and corporate, and social-cultural affairs, a media statement said.

The move, overseen by Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan, is aimed at creating “the nerve-centre of a strong and confident ASEAN Community” by 2015, it said.

ASEAN member states last year ratified a new charter for the grouping transforming it into a legal entity, setting the state for the creation of a single free trade area for the region’s 500 million people.

The charter is aimed at giving ASEAN, often dismissed as a talking-shop, greater clout in international negotiations, but critics argue that some member states will continue to get away with gross human rights abuses.

ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.–Agence France-Presse

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