H.E. Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Republic of Indonesia
On the Occasion of Transfer of Office
Of the Secretary General of ASEAN
Emile Restaurant, Jakarta, 7 January 2008
My Dear Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have come here today to break bread together in the spirit of the New Year. Thus we mark a new beginning and welcome a time of splendid possibilities in the months and years ahead of us.
At the same time, and in the same spirit of the New Year, we give thanks for a very fruitful year in the history of the ASEAN region. We also pay tribute to the person to whom a large part of the credit must be given for ASEAN’s successful observance of its fortieth anniversary, and for a good number of landmark achievements during his tenure as ASEAN Secretary General.
Mr. Ong Keng Yong, you deserve every commendation we can offer you for a job well done—for many jobs well done. To me personally, it has been a pleasure and a privilege working with you.
And I am sure that this is not the last time that we get together with you so auspiciously. You have many years ahead of you in the service of your country. And thus you will still be contributing to the advancement of ASEAN.
Whatever may be your new endeavours, we wish you every success.
Success is also our most fervent wish for Dr. Surin Pitsuwan as he takes over the helm of the ASEAN Secretariat during a most crucial time. He is expected to play a key role in the establishment of transitional arrangements for the implementation of the ASEAN Charter. He will have to lend a skillful guiding hand to the various processes by which ASEAN significantly advances toward becoming a true Community.
I am confident that however formidable are the tasks that lie ahead, he will prove to be more than equal to them.
For Dr. Surin Pitsuwan brings into the job a great deal of experience in the diplomatic world and an intimate knowledge of how ASEAN works. The Asian crisis was raging when he was serving as Foreign Minister of Thailand and in that capacity, he took part in formulating what proved to be ASEAN’s successful response to that crisis.
Dr. Surin, I am certain that with the support of the entire ASEAN family, you will lead the ASEAN Secretariat to new levels of achievement. In your endeavours, we in Indonesia, as host to the ASEAN Secretariat, stand ready to assist and support you in every way we can.
May I now call on everyone to join me in a toast to Dr. Surin Pitsuwan and Mr. Ong Keng Yong and to the success of ASEAN’s transformation into an ASEAN Community.
I thank you.