Asean Secretariat receives Mercado’s credentials

Published by rudy Date posted on March 21, 2009

FORMER Defense Secretary Orlando Mercado, now Philippines’ Permanent Representative to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has presented his credentials to the regional block’s Secretary General, the Asean Secretariat reported Friday.

Asean Secretary General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan received Mercado’s credentials on Friday, following that of Permanent Representatives from Singapore, Viet Nam, Lao PDR and Cambodia.

As prescribed in the Asean Charter, all ten Asean member-states (the Philippines, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam) will appoint Permanent Representatives to Asean, which shall form the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR).

The CPR’s mandate is to support the work of the Asean Community Councils and Asean Sectoral Ministerial Bodies as well as facilitate Asean cooperation with external partners, among others.

“We are now at a halfway mark towards establishing the CPR. I am confident that Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand will formally appoint their respective Permanent Representative shortly,” Surin said, adding that he will be seeing the Permanent Representative from Myanmar next Monday

Surin also noted that there is still much work to be done following the entry into force of the Asean Charter, which provisions include establishment of a dispute settlement mechanism, stronger information dissemination and an Asean human rights body.

As such, Surin said the CPR would hold an informal meeting on March 25 at the Asean Secretariat.

“I look forward to a productive consultation with them,” he said.

In a separate interview with The Manila Times, Mercado said that stirring economic development remains the primary concern of Southeast Asia, as well as issues on counter terrorism, piracy, and Protecting the regions’ security, environment and its people’s human rights.

The new envoy did not cite specific initiatives that the Philippines would push in the regional block, but stressed that constant dialogue would be necessary to achieve progress.
–Llanesca T. Panti

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