The Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, is deeply saddened to learn that former Foreign Minister of the Republic of Indonesia, Ali Alatas, has passed away. On behalf of ASEAN, he offers his sincere condolences to Bapak Ali’s widow and family.

Dr Surin said, “It is the end of an era. Bapak Ali was a towering figure not only in ASEAN but also in the Third World and Non-Aligned Countries. He was a great son and a true patriot of Indonesia.”

“His contributions to the Southeast Asian region, in particular, through the ASEAN process, have been immeasurable. For me, since we served together as Foreign Ministers in the late 1990s, every conversation with Bapak Ali has always turned into an intellectual discourse on our collective achievements in the region and on our future aspirations for our people.”

“In the passing of Bapak Ali, we have not only lost a dear friend but a diplomatic giant. He was a great inspiration to us all. His permanent absence will be a big void in our regional diplomatic landscape.”

Among his many and great achievements, Mr Ali Alatas was one of the ten members of the ASEAN Eminent Persons Group that was tasked to re-examine ASEAN and propose new ideas for the drafting of the ASEAN Charter, which will enter into force on 15 December 2008.