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ASEAN senior officials' meetings conclude in Cambodia, agree numerous issues

(Xinhua)

10:21, March 07, 2012

PHNOM PENH, March 6 (Xinhua) -- The meetings of ASEAN senior officials in charge of economic, security, and socio-cultural communities were concluded here on Tuesday, agreeing a number of issues, according to a press release after the meetings.

The three-day joint preparatory meeting and related meetings were chaired by Soeung Rathchavy, a secretary of state at Cambodia ' s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The meetings were to prepare agendas and documents for the 20th ASEAN Summit and related Summits on April 3-4.

According to the press release, the ASEAN senior officials discussed and agreed to finalize the draft ASEAN Human Rights Declaration before the 21th ASEAN Summit in November, and also agreed to speed up the preparation of the Term of Reference (TOR) for the establishment of an ASEAN Institute for Peace and Recommendation by July.

For the issue of the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (SEANWFZ), the officials agreed to arrange a statement on the protocol to the treaty on the SEANWFZ for their ASEAN foreign ministers to sign in April during the 20th ASEAN Summit.

They also prepared the Memorandum of Understanding between ASEAN and China on the SEANWFZ and arranged it for the ASEAN-China foreign ministers to sign in July. Moreover, they stressed that it was very important to invite the foreign ministers of the nuclear weapon powerful states to sign the protocol on the SEANWFZ in July.

The officials also discussed the regional Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and noticed that ASEAN should begin working with China in order to draft the Code of Conduct (CoC).

Besides these issues, they agreed to put forward the ASEAN Leaders' Declaration on Drug Free ASEAN 2015 for the ASEAN leaders to sign in April during the 20th ASEAN Summit.

For the application of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste to be the 11th member of ASEAN, the officials agreed to set up an ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group in order to assess the impacts on ASEAN when the Timor-Leste becomes the ASEAN member states.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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