JAKARTA, 27 August 2015 – H.E. Dr. Rui Maria de Araujo, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, visited the ASEAN Secretariat today and had a meeting with H.E. Le Luong Minh, the Secretary-General of ASEAN.

The primary focus of the discussions was on Timor-Leste’s application for ASEAN membership. PM Rui told SG Minh that Timor-Leste attaches great importance to ASEAN and looked forward to being admitted into the regional organisation. He emphasised that membership in ASEAN was a national policy that enjoyed broad based support in Timor-Leste.

PM Rui assured SG Minh that Timor-Leste government was taking the necessary internal steps and processes including establishing the necessary mechanisms to comply with ASEAN’s requirements and obligations. He added that Timor-Leste was confident that it is ready to contribute positively to ASEAN. As part of the preparation for membership in ASEAN, Timor-Leste has established diplomatic presence in all ASEAN capitals, with the recent opening of Embassies in Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar.

SG Minh informed PM Rui that Timor-Leste’s application for ASEAN membership is undergoing internal processes and is being given serious consideration. As part of the evaluation process, ASEAN has commissioned three independent studies covering the political-security, economic and socio-cultural sectors to comprehensively assess Timor-Leste’s application. SG Minh added that ASEAN Member States shared in principle agreement on Timor-Leste’s membership of ASEAN, adding that the decision could only be taken after the evaluation process.

SG Minh also informed PM Rui that as part of the process to prepare for eventual membership, ASEAN would provide opportunities for Timor-Leste to participate in some ASEAN activities so as to build capacity and expose Timor-Leste to ASEAN work processes and methods. Responding to this, PM Rui expressed his gratitude to ASEAN and the ASEAN Secretariat for the support adding that he looked forward to having a frank discussion with ASEAN on how Timor-Leste could proceed with its membership application after the studies were concluded.

PM Rui briefed SG Minh on political and economic developments in Timor-Leste emphasising that good progress was being made. SG Minh congratulated PM Rui for Timor-Leste’s achievements and reiterated his appreciation for Timor-Leste’s close engagement with ASEAN Member States and the efforts it was taking to prepare for membership in ASEAN. PM Rui’s visit to the ASEAN Secretariat was part of his official visit to the Republic of Indonesia.

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