The Foreign Minister of Timor-Leste, Zacarias da Costa, and the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, met this morning to discuss Timor-Leste’s ongoing preparations to join ASEAN.

During the bilateral meeting held at the sidelines of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Ha Noi, Dr Surin emphasised the ASEAN Secretariat’s support to assist Timor-Leste in its preparations for ASEAN membership. “We are also happy to assist Timor-Leste’s participation in relevant functional cooperation activities of ASEAN,” he said.

The Secretary-General also welcomed the accreditation of Mr Manuel Serrano as Timor-Leste’s Ambassador to ASEAN. Ambassador Serrano is also Timor-Leste’s Ambassador to Indonesia. The accreditation is currently awaiting approval from the ASEAN Foreign Ministers together with several others.

Timor-Leste, which is a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum, is preparing to host the ARF Experts and Eminent Persons (EEPs) meeting in the capital Dili in December 2010.