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Surin welcomes Thailand's ratification of Asean charter

Asean Secretary-General Dr Surin Pitsuwan has expressed relief when Thailand ratified the Asean Charter in three readings on Tuesday's night making it the eighth member to have done so.

"Thailand has taken an important step as the chair because there have been some reservation of its ability and commitment to take care of the Asean community," Surin told The Nation in an interview.

Thailand's ratification and Surin's comment came after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen commented that because of the political uncertainty in Thailand, the chair should be returned to Singapore or given to Vietnam.

The region and the international community, especially the dialogue partners of Asean would be further energized by the charter's ratification and witnessing Asean as a legal entity, according to Surin. Only Indonesia and the Philippines are the two members which have not yet ratified. Their lawmakers are planning to do so within coming weeks.

He also expressed confidence that more dialogue countries would appoint Asean ambassadors in the near future. The US, Australia and New Zealand have already appointed their respective ambassadors. Only New Zealand has appointed the current ambassador to Jakarta as the Asean envoy in resident.

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