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ASEAN advisers recommend charter to include sanctions

Written by: Staff

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 (Reuters) ASEAN advisers recommended on Thursday that the grouping be given power to penalise member states that fail to honour agreements.

A senior adviser to the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) said sanctions were one of the options that would be recommended as part of the first constitution for the 38-year-old group.

''Sanctions sound very severe, dramatic, but sanctions for us are simple. If we implement a project and a country does not implement it, the sanctions are meant to tell them off,'' former Malaysian deputy premier Musa Hitam told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

But Musa, who is chairman of a group which is due to make recommendations on a draft charter by the end of 2006, said sanctions were to be used only as a last resort.

''We are considering sanctions as one of the options that would be recommended to the governments concerned,'' he said.

ASEAN aims to adopt its first constitution in 2007, overhauling an informal structure that has begun to cause frustration among members. Member states can now ignore or breach commitments to ASEAN with impunity.

Asked about ASEAN's policy of non-interference in a nation's domestic affairs, Musa said: ''We will try to structure the methodology of ensuring that each member conforms or complies, each member is to be assisted in the promotion of democracy, good governance and human rights.'' REUTERS SRS PC2130

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