Indonesia sees ASEAN stepping up as proactive regional body for conflict resolution

Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa says ASEAN took a step forward to becoming a Community with its intervention in the Thailand-Cambodia border dispute.

Addressing foreign correspondents in Jakarta, he said ASEAN's documents state that local disputes should be referred to its apparatus, but had rarely been done.

This time Indonesia, as Chair, created a precedent by proactively involving the Association in the conflict resolution process, with the two counties' agreement, support from the other members and the endorsements of the United Nations Security Council and International Court of Justice.

ASEAN's role, he said, was not to decide upon an issue "difficult to resolve" but to facilitate the avoidance of armed conflict.

Such a 'dynamic equilibrium' approach, if taken "beyond ASEAN", could help the broader region keep the peace, avoid a return to cold war schisms and to secure "security, prosperity and stability."

Indonesia will take to the East Asia Summit in Bali in November, in which both the USA and Russian will participate for the first time, a draft of general principals for conduct - whether approved as guidelines or legally binding - between the participants.

This indicates a growing role for ASEAN in international affairs, he said, as "regional traction is needed for global issues."

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