Asean needs retooling to face competion from outside: Surin

June 19, 2007 1:35 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Asean needs rethinking and retooling to face fierce competition and pressure from the outside world, the new Asean secretary general-designate, Dr Surin Pitsuwan said Tuesday.

“It would not an easy road ahead. I have to be humble. I need a lot of support from the 10-member Asean,” he told The Nation in an interview last night.

Dr. Surin Pitsuwan said that it was an honour to be given such a high confidence by the Thai government. “I will carry out my duty with the utmost Asean interest in mind,” he said.

At the meeting yesterday, the Cabinet unanimously endorsed the recommendation from Foreign Ministry of Surin Pitsuwan as the candidate from Thailand. There are still procedures to follow. His name will be soon be forwarded to the Asean foreign ministers when they meet at the end of July in Manila. After that, it will be formally endorsed by the Asean leaders at the Singapore summit from 19-21 November.

“Asean is facing fierce competition and pressure from the outside world. It needs a lot of rethinking, retooling and readjusting to face these great challenges,” he said.

He reiterated the Asean citizens have a lot of expectation and hope concerning the future of the organization because there will be a charter for the first time in four decades. “If I can be an instrument to carry this aspiration forward, it would be a welcome challenge for me.”

Surin will succeed the outgoing Ong Keng Yong from Singapore on January 1, 2008. The position is rotating in alphabetical order. He is will be the first highest ranking senior to head the organization.

He served as foreign minister from 1997-2001 under the Chuan Leekpai government and has been active in activities related to peace-building, conflict-resolution and civil society including inter-faith dialogue and promotion of democracy.

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