Sep 202014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/04/07MANILA1198.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA1198 2007-04-17 06:53 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO7532
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1198/01 1070653
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 170653Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6088
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001198

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/17/2017
TAGS: PREL ECIN PHUM ASEAN RP
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINE VIEWS ON ASEAN CHARTER

REF: A. BANGKOK 1973
¶B. BANGKOK 1957
¶C. MANILA 0179

Classified By: Pol/C Scott Bellard, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. Action request — see para 9.

¶2. (C) Summary. The drafting of the ASEAN Charter proceeds
smoothly, with a goal of presenting a fairly complete version
to the ASEAN Foreign Ministers by July 31. The
“comprehensive but brief” document should lay out the ASEAN
structure without creating a new supranational body. There
will be no formal provision about expulsions or sanctions,
since the ASEAN leaders had not endorsed this recommendation.
Consensus — but not necessarily unanimity — will remain
the norm. The Philippines is pushing for an ASEAN Human
Rights Commission that might nonetheless have some
enforcement powers. The current Philippine head of the High
Level Task Force offered to brief the U.S. in person at the
U.S.-ASEAN Dialogue in Washington on June 21. End Summary.

¶3. (C) Retired Philippine Ambassador Rosario G. Manalo,
head of the ASEAN Charter High Level Task Force during the
Philippines’ ASEAN chairmanship, briefed Pol/C on April 17
regarding latest developments in the drafting process. She
expressed high confidence that the task force would be able
to submit a fairly clean draft to the ASEAN Foreign Ministers
by the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting July 31, although some
bracketed language would likely remain for the Ministers to
sort out before final presentation at the ASEAN Summit in
Singapore. She emphasized that the Charter would be an
“enabling instrument” that ASEAN leaders could eventually
flesh out as needed, rather than a “detailed plan” or treaty.
She explained that ASEAN recognized it needed this more
formal structure in order to compete more effectively in an
era of globalization, while also needing a more systemic
“culture of compliance.” She emphasized, however, that the
key remained State responsibility, and that the outcome would
not look like the European Union, with its supranational
characteristics.

¶4. (C) According to Manalo, the current goal was to have a
“comprehensive but brief” document, well under ten pages,
with key sections including:
— Preamble
— Purpose and Principles
— Legal personality
— Organizations and Structure
— Immunities and Privileges of the organization
— Budget and Financial Resources
— Administration
— Protocol procedures
— Dispute Settlement Mechanisms
— External Relations
— Ratification procedures.
Manalo said that the first two sections were “virtually
complete,” while meetings in Hanoi April 17 and 18 would
hammer out the sections on the legal personality and
structure. She indicated that there would be at least three
more meetings in order to meet the July 31 target.

¶5. (C) Manalo discounted press reports of a supposed recent
decision to eliminate a provision about suspension of
membership, expulsions, or sanctions. She clarified that the
ASEAN leaders, as well as the foreign ministers, had
explicitly not accepted this recommendation, and so this was
never in the mandate of the task force to explore. She
emphasized that the goal was instead to improve cohesiveness
and strengthen cooperation, not punish individual members.
She admitted that the leaders and foreign ministers had
recognized that such a tool could affect any member, not
Burma alone. She commented that the final language on
dispute settlement mechanisms would be tricky, although some
precedents exist relating to trade and the South East Asia
Nuclear Free Zone. She nonetheless underscored that all
members remained committed to consensus — which, she
emphasized, was quite different from unanimity — rather than
majority voting, except perhaps on more minor technical
matters. She said that the task force was examining closely
the UN Charter’s Article 51 on peaceful resolution of
disputes as a model for ASEAN’s own dispute settlement
mechanisms.

¶6. (C) According to Manalo, a key priority for the
Philippines was the establishment of some sort of ASEAN Human
Rights Commission, a recommendation from former Philippine
President Fidel V. Ramos that the other Eminent Persons had
vetoed at a meeting in Brunei. She claimed that President
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had successfully resurrected the
proposal at the January Cebu Summit (ref c). The foreign

MANILA 00001198 002 OF 002

ministers at the AMM this summer will discuss the enabling
provisions on this, including perhaps some sort of
“enforcement” mechanisms. She said that Burma, Singapore,
Laos, and Indonesia remained the most opposed to this
proposal — coming from different perspectives — with Burma
the most vocal. She indicated that one solution might be a
more focused HRC, dealing initially perhaps only with the
rights of women and children, since all ten ASEAN members
were signatories of this UN convention.

¶7. (C) Manalo confirmed that each ASEAN member will have to
ratify the Charter, unlike the procedures for ratification of
the ASEAN Counterterrorism Convention. The discussion now
centered on the exact time frame for this to happen to bring
the Charter into effect. She said that she was pushing for a
fairly brief period, perhaps only six months.

¶8. (C) Manalo described the dynamics of the task force as
surprisingly good. One member, whose country she declined to
identify, was more problematic than others, but mostly due to
his insistence on repeated references to good governance and
anti-corruption, which she said went against the general
desire to keep the document concise. Overall, she commented,
the task force members had come to see that they and their
countries were even “more like-minded than we had realized.”

¶9. (C) Action request: Manalo added that she and other
members of the High Level Task Force had briefed the EU on
the status of the ASEAN Charter drafting at the March
Nuremberg meeting, and said that they would welcome the
chance to brief the U.S. as well at the June 21 U.S.-ASEAN
dialogue in Washington, if invited. Please advise on any
response.
Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm
JONES

   

 

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