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ASEAN ministerial meeting to focus on Charter, regional
integration: Singapore FM
+ -
08:11, July 20, 2007

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Singapore's Foreign Minister George Yeo said the upcoming ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) foreign ministers meeting in Manila next weekend will focus on Charter and regional integration, local media reported on Thursday.

Yeo told Channel NewsAsia in an interview that the first draft of the ASEAN Charter, a basic legal document for the regional body, will feature prominently at the 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting ( AMM) which will begin on July 29.

"We have been making good progress, but there will still be some issues for us to resolve. So I am looking forward to it and I am confident that by the end of the year, the leaders will be able to sign the document which is reasonably forward looking and constructive," he told Channel NewsAsia.

The Charter, which is expected to be concluded and endorsed by the leaders at the Singapore Summit in November, will define ASEAN 's long-term goal of becoming a closely integrated regional entity.

He also said another topic expected to gain prominence at the meeting is the ongoing debate on climate change.

"If there is global warming and sea levels rise, we will be inundated and it's not as if the sea levels will rise gradually. It will be accompanied by storms and forest burning and all kinds of things happening and we will be affected," he said.

He added that, "So we have every vested interest in moving positively with the rest of the world in responding in a sensible long-term way to climate change. We will be very active in the diplomatic work."

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The Philippines is in the current chair of ASEAN and will handover it to Singapore at the second half of this year.

Source: Xinhua

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