Sunday, 18 October 2009

Timor-Leste, Indonesia and Australia, Foreign Ministers met in New York to discuss security and development

The Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Timor-Leste, Australia and Indonesia held a Trilateral meeting, in New York, to discuss maritime security issues, development assistance and other political and diplomatic issues of mutual concern at the regional and international level.

This is the third time in the last two years that Timor-Leste Foreign Minister Zacarias Albano da Costa held a Trilateral Meeting with his counterparts from Australia Stephen Smith, and Indonesia Hassan Wirajuda.

Trilateral meetings have been organized for six years now, between the three countries at the Foreign Ministerial level hosted alternately by each country. This year's meeting, at the margin of the 63rd Session of the General Assembly, was hosted by Australia.

“I’m very happy with the outcome of the meeting . Both my counterparts , Minister Steven Smith and Minister Wirajuda expressed their satisfaction with positive development we are witnessing in Timor-Leste in all areas. It was a very positive meeting. I am very happy again to be part of such an important event, where we can discuss openly main issues of common interest, share our concerns and try to address important matters for our countries such as security and peace in the region”, Minister Zacarias Albano da Costa said at the end of the meeting.

Main issues discussed during the meeting covered areas such as security cooperation, illegal fishing and joint coast guard patrol, people smuggling, food security and capacity building and development assistance.

Minister Da Costa said that “Indonesia has fully committed to continue to work together with Timor-Leste Government in many areas including training of PNTL (Policia Nacional de Timor-Leste), capacity building in many areas for Senior officials, technical cooperation in education as well as diplomacy training programs. Australia has pledged to continue with its current support in all areas of cooperation with Timor-Leste”.

He also added “We have also discussed illegal fishing activities which have taken place in Timor-Leste’s south coast area. Last year alone we’ve lost around 38 million of dollars in illegal fishing in our shores. We do not have yet the capacity to deal with this problem alone, so both Australia and Indonesia have agreed to assist us and jointly find a regional mechanism to curb this illegal activities in our waters”.

On a maritime assistance package proposed by the Australians, both Minister Da Costa and Minister Wirajuda referred to the next meeting, to be hosted by Timor-Leste Foreign Minister. END