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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
Secretary of Foreign Affairs

Statement before the United Nations Security Council during the

Thematic Debate on the Role of Regional and Sub-Regional Organizations
in the Maintenance of International Peace and Security
06 November 2007, New York

Mr. President,

I take this opportunity to congratulate Indonesia and Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda on its assumption of the Presidency.

The changing face of our world highlights the indispensable role of regional and sub-regional organizations in our quest for peace and security.

For the Philippines, the peace and security of the different regions of the world hold great importance, in terms of our commitment to the basic principles of the Charter, but also because of our deep concern for our nationals. One-tenth of my people are outside my country, and are in almost every nook and corner of the world. It is thus in the Philippines’ national interest that these regions remain peaceful, stable and progressive.

The Charter of the United Nations provides the basis for cooperation between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organizations.

Working with the UN, regions must strengthen their potential to resolve disputes and maintain peace and security.

Cooperative ventures between the United Nations and regional organizations in the field of peacekeeping and enhanced interaction on conflict prevention and peacebuilding in the past decade prove the importance and usefulness of this partnership.

To further strengthen this critical partnership, I propose the following:

First, exchange of information, on matters relating to the maintenance of peace and security at the regional level, should serve as the backbone of a framework for cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.

Second, formal arrangements for collaboration should be concluded between the United Nations and regional organizations to establish clear areas of responsibility and more efficient cooperation.

The Secretary-General’s 2005 report In Larger Freedom recommended Memoranda of Understanding to govern such relationships. ASEAN signed such a MOU on 27 September 2007. It may also be recalled that ASEAN was granted Observer Status in the General Assembly on 04 December 2006.

Third, cooperation between the United Nations and the concerned regional organization should be monitored. Monitoring should be seen as a nurturing process where best practices are highlighted for future reference and guidance.

And fourth, the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, should always endeavor to open all channels of communications and consult with regional organizations.

Regions must play a primary role in the peace and security of their region. ASEAN has concluded several initiatives which have significantly contributed to peace, security and stability in our region.

These include the declaration of a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality in South-East Asia, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, the Declaration of ASEAN Concord, the Treaty on the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, the establishment of the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ASEAN Dialogue Process, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, and regional actions undertaken in cooperation with the United Nations with regard to Cambodia and Timor-Leste.

We must also take an active interest in developments that relate to efforts to build stronger ties between our respective regions and the UN.

One pressing issue involving ASEAN and the United Nations is the situation in Myanmar or Burma.

On the issue of Myanmar, the Philippines reiterates that ASEAN should continue to give their full support to the good offices role of the Secretary-General, in the person of Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari.

For the Philippines, it is our hope that all our efforts in our region, and here in the United Nations, will produce positive and tangible outcomes that will lead to national reconciliation and a peaceful transition to democracy in Myanmar.

It is our fervent and hopeful expectation that to begin this national reconciliation and peaceful transition, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi be immediately released without restrictions and that all parties, including the National League for Democracy, be part of the democratization and constitutional process in Myanmar.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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