Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, today welcomed the news that Thailand can soon complete its ratification of the ASEAN Charter.

The legislation to enable the Thai Government to follow up on the implementation of and compliance with the ASEAN Charter has been endorsed by the Thai Senate and it is now being sent to His Majesty, the King of Thailand, for his royal signature before its proclamation into law.

Dr Surin said, “This is joyful news from Thailand, the current Chair of ASEAN. I am sure this development would give impetus and encouragement to Indonesia and the Philippines, which are still in the process of ratifying the ASEAN Charter.”

“The vision of a united ASEAN committed to building the ASEAN Community by 2015 is getting clearer by the day,” Dr Surin added.

He also expressed optimism that by the time of the ASEAN Summit in mid-December 2008 in Bangkok, the ASEAN Leaders will be able to celebrate either the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter, or at least the full ratification of the Charter.

The ASEAN Charter shall enter into force on the 30th day following the date of deposit of the tenth ratification with the Secretary-General of ASEAN, in accordance with Article 47, Paragraph 4 of the Charter.

Seven of the 10 Member States of ASEAN have already deposited their instruments of ratification with the Secretary-General.

The ASEAN Charter is being scrutinized in Indonesia’s House of Representatives and in the Philippine Senate.