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ASEAN leaders to urge economic crisis measures

Southeast Asian leaders were expected to call today for cooperation to deal with the global financial crisis as they wrap up a summit dominated by their economic woes.

business Updated: Mar 01, 2009 11:48 IST
AFP
Hindustantimes

Southeast Asian leaders were expected to call on Sunday for cooperation to deal with the global financial crisis as they wrap up a summit dominated by their economic woes.

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has spent much of its annual meeting seeking ways to soften the impact of the meltdown on their export-driven economies, with millions of jobs at risk.

They are due to issue a joint statement calling for a meeting of finance ministers in coming weeks and the rapid expansion of a multi-billion-dollar emergency currency fund for the region, ASEAN officials told AFP.

The leaders are also expected to sign a declaration on setting up an EU-style ASEAN community by 2015 that is aimed at protecting the diverse bloc of around 570 million people from future economic turmoil.

Premier Abhisit Vejjajiva of Thailand, whose economy is one of several in the region that is either in or nearing recession, told his counterparts yesterday that ASEAN was "at the frontier of an economic battle and recovery."

"As the financial crisis deepens the world will look towards our region for action and confidence, which is exactly what we in ASEAN are set out to do," Abhisit said in his opening speech.