'Momentous' day for Asean as charter comes into force | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 16, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 16, 2008

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'Momentous' day for Asean as charter comes into force

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations took a major step towards becoming an EU-style community Monday with the passing into force of a new charter setting benchmarks for democracy.
The charter sets out rules of membership, transforms Asean into a legal entity and envisages a single free trade area by 2015 for the region of 500 million people.
It came into force with a meeting of Asean foreign ministers at the bloc's Jakarta secretariat, 30 days after Thailand became the last member to deposit its ratifying documents.
"This is a momentous development when Asean is consolidating, integrating and transforming itself into a community," Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said.
"It is achieved while Asean seeks a more vigorous role in Asian and global affairs at a time when the international system is experiencing a seismic shift," he added, referring to climate change and economic upheaval.
"Southeast Asia is no longer the bitterly divided, war-torn region it was in the 1960s and 1970s.”
Asean consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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