PM Timor Leste visits ASEAN Secretariat
The Prime Minister noted that ASEAN has vast experience in human resource development, which is crucial to the success of nation-building and development in Timor-Leste. This success, among others, has inspired Timor-Leste to join ASEAN as soon as possible. He also cited Indonesia’s support for Timor-Leste’s quest for the ASEAN membership. Dr Surin informed Prime Minister Gusmão that Indonesia has conveyed Timor-Leste’s application to all other ASEAN Member States. Indonesia has requested all other ASEAN Member States to give “urgent attention” to this issue, Dr Surin also said. Under the ASEAN Charter, admission of a new member shall be decided by consensus by the ASEAN Summit upon the recommendation of the ASEAN Coordinating Council (consisting of all the 10 ASEAN Foreign Ministers).
At their talk, both sides also recalled past collaboration in arranging ASEAN peacekeeping operations for East Timor in 1999.
Prime Minister Gusmão also invited Dr Surin to join Timor-Leste’s 10th anniversary of independence celebration in Dili in May next year. In an earlier meeting with Foreign Minister Zacarias da Costa, Dr Surin had also accepted in principle an invitation to undertake a visit to Timor-Leste. The Prime Minister also informed Dr Surin that the presidential and parliamentary elections will be held in March 2012 and June 2012 respectively, following which the United Nations peacekeepers will begin to leave and end their operations.
Prime Minister Gusmão was accompanied by Foreign Minister Zacarias da Costa, Economy and Development Minister João Gonçalves and the Ambassador to Indonesia Manuel Serrano.