Timor-Leste leader thanks PH for backing Asean bid


President Aquino and Timor-Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao strike an informal pose in Thursday’s welcome honors in Malacañang. LYN RILLON

Timor-Leste Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão on Thursday thanked President Aquino for the latter’s renewed expression of Philippine support for Timor-Leste’s bid to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

Aquino hosted a luncheon in Malacañang for Gusmão and his delegation following a wreath-laying rite at the monument of national hero Jose Rizal.

The two leaders vowed to forge stronger bilateral ties and witnessed the signing of memorandums of understanding on education, public works and foreign affairs, but future cooperation in Asean seemed topmost in their minds.

Aquino said Gusmão’s visit came at a very important time for both countries “as we focus our efforts in fostering greater cooperation and solidarity” in Southeast Asia.

“On this note, allow me to express the Philippines’ support for Timor-Leste’s bid to join the Asean community,” Aquino said as he and the visiting premier faced the press.

“We look forward to working more closely with you in the future in advancing regional dialogue, which we know will redound not only to the growth of our people and our countries, but will also contribute to the stability and continued development of our region,” Aquino added.

Gusmão thanked Aquino for supporting Timor’s bid for membership in the 10-nation regional bloc.

“Timor-Leste is seeking membership in Asean as we believe we can contribute to this dynamic and growing region to which we all belong. We look forward to joining with the Philippines in the Asean family,” he said.

Gusmão said he would be leaving on Sunday “with renewed confidence and hope that the strong ties of friendship and solidarity between our peoples will carry on and that our dynamic partnership will continue to strengthen in the future.”

At the close of their 22nd summit in Brunei in late April, Aquino and other leaders of Asean expressed support for Timor-Leste’s bid.

Asean Secretary General Le Luong Minh had said that the group was studying Timor-Leste’s bid, stressing that this relatively new nation in Southeast Asia must meet its obligations under Asean’s economic, political and sociocultural pillars.

Timor-Leste, comprising the eastern half of Timor island, was annexed by Indonesia in 1975 and declared its independence in 2002. It filed an application for Asean membership in 2011.

At Thursday’s press conference, Aquino said the Philippines and Timor Leste had been working for the past 11 years to turn a “vision of mutual prosperity and peace” into reality for both their peoples. He thanked Gusmão for his government’s $750,000 aid for the victims of Typhoon “Pablo.”

The MOUs that were signed Thursday involved Philippine public works officials helping to build the capabilities of Timorese public works personnel in infrastructure planning, quality control and maintenance; the Philippine Normal University helping to devise a program for training Timorese education officials; and establishing a bilateral mechanism between the foreign ministries of both countries.

“Today, we witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Philippine Normal University and the government of Timor-Leste, the objective of which is to enhance the training of Timorese teachers. This is part of our efforts to deepen cooperation in education between our nations,” Aquino said.

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  • jclarendo

    May isang naypi na so happy sa pagvisit ng Timor President

  • go88

    Abnoy you naughty boy … the photographer caught you again peeping at the zipper of a foreign official ….

    • ern

      talo na naman mga kandidato mo sa nakaraang eleksyon?

    • mavtan


    • Guest

      Is he a homosexual? Makes sense, unmarried head of the state. I say yes, he is a gay man.

      • go88

        Of course he is … normal hacienderos -unlike abnoy who likes salami- tend to marry early in order to form alliances and keep land among themselves and their children …. but this could change … if noytard passed a bill allowing homosexual marriage he could marry vice ganda, that way he’d be president and first lady at the same time!

      • Guest

        Who are you? And where are you from?

  • Guest™

    I did not know that there is a Timor-Leste. I may want to come over and stay for a week see what that country is all about. Their currency is in US$, must have a lot of gold in reserves. Its a tiny state north of Australia, south of Indonesia and east of Jakarta. It was the old East Timor, its like a spin off from Indonesia, but its majority Christians and Roman Catholic.

  • Weder-Weder Lang

    Naku po. This will upset our Indonesian friends again. Hindi na naman tayo susuportahan ng Indonesia laban sa China.

    • PCD_2012

      Timor Leste is already an independent country and the dispute with Indonesia was settled long time ago….

      • Weder-Weder Lang

        When was the last time you’ve been to Indonesia or spoken to an Indonesian?

      • PCD_2012

        You don’t have to be in Indonesia to know that the Indonesians were ashamed of the cruelties that they have done to the Timorese!

      • Weder-Weder Lang

        Well, since you insist on being presumptuous . . .

      • ApoNiLolo

        Weder-Weder got a point. Indonesia grudgingly gave Timor away because of international pressure. What we don’t know is; has that grudge simmered down?

  • George DeCarlo

    I find it disgusting that Timor Leste has not been allowed into ASEAN. The genocide that killed a very large part of their population can never be forgotten. In the US as early as 1980 I had been made aware of the terror they were suffering. WBAI 99.5 FM in NYC and Democracy Now did extensive reporting on the events there when Indonesia only thought to kill them. ASEAN just fell many notches in my book of reputable organizations.

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