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7th ACC Meeting Agrees on Documents, Advances Regional Cooperation

28 October 2010 144 No Comment

The 7th Meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) held in Ha Noi yesterday ended with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers agreeing to recommend the ASEAN Leaders to adopt the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity today at the 17th ASEAN Summit. The Master Plan is the Member States’ response to the region’s needs for an improved physical, institutional and people-to-people connection.

The ACC Meeting was held in conjunction with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, where several documents were adopted. The ACC, created as a result of the ASEAN Charter’s entry into force in 2008, meet at least twice a year to ensure the implementation of the relevant decisions agreed upon at the Summit.

At this ACC Meeting, ASEAN Member States were urged to establish their national rescue coordination centre to establish direct communication channels and protocols so that people and vessels in trouble at sea will be promptly searched for and rescued. The Foreign Leaders yesterday agreed on the “ASEAN Declaration on Cooperation in Search and Rescue of Persons and Vessels in Distress at Sea”.

At the meeting, the Foreign Ministers also agreed to corporate the “Rules for Reference of Unresolved Disputes”, into the “ASEAN Summit to the Protocol to the ASEAN Charter on Dispute Settlement Mechanisms”. The Rules is a document that explains and guides Member States on how to refer disputes to the ASEAN Summit, effectively making the Rules an integral part of the Protocol. The Protocol, signed earlier in April, provides a mechanism to help Member States resolve disputes concerning the conflicting interpretation or application of the ASEAN Charter. The Protocol also covers other ASEAN instruments which do not have their own dispute settlement mechanisms.

To better respond to the growing interest for non-ASEAN Member States to engage with ASEAN, the Foreign Ministers also approved the “Procedures for the Accreditation of Ambassadors and Establishment of Diplomatic Missions to ASEAN from Non-ASEAN Member States and Relevant Inter-Governmental Organisations”.

The Foreign Ministers also approved the “Rules of Authorisation for Legal Transactions under Domestic Laws”, which allows the Secretary-General of ASEAN, his Deputies, or the ASEAN Secretariat staff authorised by the Secretary-General, to represent ASEAN in legal transactions under domestic laws.

At the start of the Meetings, which were chaired by Viet Nam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Gia Khiem, the Foreign Ministers conveyed their condolences to their Indonesian counterpart, Minister Marty Natalegawa, over the recent natural disasters in Indonesia.

The Foreign Ministers adjourned for an informal working dinner, where they continued to exchange views on regional and international issues.

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