SIEM REAP, Cambodia: Southeast Asian nations hope to finish a draft of their long-awaited charter by the end of the year, Cambodia’s foreign minister said Friday.
The charter, aimed at creating a more formalized regional bloc, was one of several issues discussed by foreign ministers of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations during their annual retreat in the Cambodian city of Siem Reap.
Hor Namhong, Cambodia’s foreign minister and the meeting’s host, said a drafting committee aims to submit a draft of the document to ASEAN leaders at a summit in Singapore in November.
“I hope it will be finalized at the summit in Singapore,” Hor Namhong said after the retreat ended.
Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem said ASEAN foreign ministers have reached “a consensus on the main principles for building the charter.”
“Everything is all right,” he said, describing the charter so far as “acceptable.”
Khiem said the Singapore summit would also address Pakistan’s request to become a full-fledged dialogue partner with the grouping. He said Pakistan is currently a dialogue partner only in certain areas of cooperation with ASEAN.
ASEAN’s members are the Philippines, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, Brunei and Indonesia.