As of today (12 February), Germany has a Permanent Representative to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta. Today Ambassador Paul Freiherr von Maltzahn presented his letter of credence to Dr Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN. Von Maltzahn also serves as the German Ambassador to Indonesia.
The Federal Government has long advocated stronger regional ties in Southeast Asia as well as robust relations between the EU and the ASEAN countries. Under the German EU Presidency in 2007, both regions agreed to substantially deepen relations within the framework of the Nuremberg Declaration issued by the Foreign Ministers.
With the ASEAN Charter's entry into force on 15 December 2008, the ASEAN community acquired a legal personality similar to the European Union. This makes it possible for Ambassadors to be accredited. Alongside Germany, other EU member states are also naming Permanent Representatives to ASEAN.
The EU hopes the new ASEAN Charter will further improve regional integration. Additionally, it is expected that the envisioned ASEAN human rights body will contribute to strengthening, and improving respect for, human rights in Southeast Asia.
Functioning organizational structures are necessary for the ASEAN community to be effective. That is why Germany is supporting the development of the ASEAN institutions with 5 million euro until 2010.
The ASEAN members are Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.