Jakarta, 30 June 2004

Her Royal Highness,
Foreign Ministers of ASEAN Member States,
Foreign Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste,
Special Envoy of Papua New Guinea,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

       As we conclude our deliberations, let me express my sincere appreciation to all my distinguished Colleagues, whose active and constructive participation has made this a successful 37th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting.

       My appreciation also goes to the Secretary General of ASEAN and the hardworking staff of the ASEAN Secretariat for the excellent support that they have provided us.

       Since we began our deliberations, we have noted substantive progress in the implementation of decisions and directives of the 9th ASEAN Summit, especially those stipulated in Bali Concord II.

       Moreover, we have evaluated the progress made in our Functional Cooperation and in the implementation of the Ha Noi Plan of Action (HPA), our six-year medium term action plan towards the attainment of ASEAN Vision 2020.

       The Vientiane Action Programme (VAP), the proposed successor to the HPA, is now under preparation, and we have taken a good look at this momentous work in progress.

       We agreed to intensify work on the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI), through the fostering of equitable development in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam.

       At the same time, we have been heartened to observe that our cooperation with our Dialogue Partners continues to intensify, as Japan and Pakistan will formally accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia on 2nd July 2004. On the same occasion, the Russian Federation and Australia will each be signing with ASEAN Joint Declaration on Counter-Terrorism.

       With these countries working closely with us, we will become an even stronger force for the cause of peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.

       We have also devised a strategy for sustaining our initiative in our fast-developing cooperation with our Northeast Asian Partners.

       And in view of the various proposals for Summit meetings with ASEAN by our Dialogue Partners, we have had to rationalize our policy on such Summits. Thus, we will see to it that in engaging in Summit dialogue, we do not strain our resources and still do justice to Summit decisions and agreements.

       It is also important to note that a review of our work in the ASEAN Regional Forum assures us that we are sustaining our role as the driving spirit of this vitally important forum. This is underscored by the admittance of Pakistan as a Forum participant in the forthcoming ARF meeting.

       After intensive consultations with the other participants, we were able to obtain unanimous agreement to the ASEAN position for admittance of Pakistan—hence, securing the principle of ASEAN being in the driving seat of the ARF process.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

       We have noted the progress in the review of the ASEAN institutional framework, taking into account the enlargement of our membership, the expansion of our work and the global and regional situation.

       This undertaking has become even more essential in the light of the decision of our Leaders to establish, by the year 2020, an ASEAN Community. We have no other choice but building a strong ASEAN, if we want to overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities of our time. For that, we have decided to transform ourselves from an association of states into a true ASEAN Community; resting on three pillars—an ASEAN Security Community, an ASEAN Economic Community and an ASEAN Socio-cultural Community.

       We have noted that, following the adoption of the ASEAN Economic Community plan of action during the Bali Summit, the ASEAN Economic Ministers have been working intensively on the roadmaps for the 11 sectors indentified for priority integration. They expect to complete their deliberations on the roadmaps when they meet in September and subsequently present it to the Summit in November.

       On our part, we have deliberated on the drafts of the ASEAN Security Community Plan (ASC) of Action and the ASEAN Sociocultural Community (ASCC) Plan of Action presented respectively by Indonesia and the Philippines.

       We have reached a consensus on the ASC Plan of Action and agreed to recommend it for adoption by the Leaders. We have also endorsed the basic principles embodied in the ASCC Plan of Action — and we will continue to work on it, so that it will be ready for adoption by our Leaders during their Summit in November.

Distinguished Colleagues,

       We have started the challenging process of bringing our political and security cooperation to a higher plane. We are building the momentum for deepening integration in the economic and socio-cultural fields. And we are striving to promote our cohesiveness.

       We are working for integration. We are building a true community of Southeast Asian Nations.

       Indeed, I believe the work we have just done in this 37th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting has brought us closer to the realization of our shared vision of an ASEAN Community.

       Of course, there is still a great deal of work to be done. We know that for sure.

       And we also know that we are prepared and willing to work hard. After all, working hard – hand-in-hand – is one of the best features of ASEAN family.

       In that spirit, let me take this opportunity to pledge Indonesia’s support and cooperation to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic as the Chairman of the ASEAN Standing Committee.

       I am confident that under the able leadership of His Excellency Somsavat Lengsavad, ASEAN will continue to flourish in our cooperation to strive for full integration —towards a prosperous, caring and peaceful community of Southeast Asian Nations.

I thank you.