The ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is seeking a permanent observer status in the United Nations, the Philippines' top envoy to the UN said on Sunday.
Foreign ministers of the ASEAN endorsed the regional grouping to apply for the observer status in a meeting at the UN Headquarters on Friday, Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN Lauro Baja Jr. told reporters in a statement from New York.
"The Philippines has been advocating observer status for ASEAN in the United Nations for a number of years," Baja said. "It is gratifying that the approval of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers came during our chairmanship."
As a member of the General Committee of the UN, Baja said the Philippines will initiate the due process of application so that the status can be approved during the 61st Session of the UN General Assembly.
ASEAN is the only regional organization in the world that still does not have observer status in the UN. Once granted the observer status, ASEAN will have a seat in all the meetings of the UN that the organization is interested in, according to Baja.
The Philippines is currently the president country of ASEAN.