Cooperation among ASEAN members makes progress

Cooperation among ASEAN members makes progress

VP Boediono. (ANTARA)

Phnom Penh, Cambodia (ANTARA News) - Indonesian Vice President Boediono said cooperation among ASEAN member states has been positive and sustainable in the past year, though much still needs to be done to achieve the medium and long-term goals of the regional group.

Speaking to the press after attending the first day of the 20th ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh on Tuesday evening, Boediono quoted ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan as saying that a number of successful programs were related to the medium and long-term targets of ASEAN, including creating the ASEAN Community and the ASEAN Economic Cooperation.

"In his report, the ASEAN Secretary General pointed out progress in the implementation of programs agreed upon at the previous summit. They are related to the three pillars of cooperation; political and security cooperation, economic cooperation and socio-cultural cooperation," he said.

Boediono said ASEAN leaders who were present at the plenary session agreed that cooperation among ASEAN member states had made progress, however, a number of goals have still not been achieved.

"The ASEAN secretary general has recommended that if we wish to achieve the target in 2015, we need to improve the institutional capacity and capability of ASEAN itself," he said.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, who accompanied the vice president, said the first day of the ASEAN Summit discussed efforts to create an ASEAN Community in 2015 by placing emphasis on the three pillars of cooperation.

"It also discussed initiatives for ASEAN integration, efforts to bridge the economic gap among member states, as well as a report on the realization of ASEAN connectivity," he said.

Marty noted that the heads of delegations from ASEAN member states also endorsed a document declaring ASEAN as a region free of narcotics and drug abuse.

"Some of the heads of delegations admitted that it was not easy to create a drug-free ASEAN region by 2015. However, efforts must always be made to deal with the issue," he said.

The ASEAN leaders who were present at the 20th ASEAN Summit also agreed on the working paper proposed by Malaysia on the effort to oppose extreme approaches.

"This is in line with the interests of Indonesia, which always encourages religious harmony and interfaith dialog," he said.