Wednesday, 2 March 2011

“Minister Zacarias da Costa meets with General Secretary for ASEAN”

Minister Zacarias da Costa with
Secretary General Surin Pitswan

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, H.E. Zacarias Albano da Costa, paid a courtesy call to H.E. Surin Pitswan, Secretary General of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta, on Tuesday, the 1st of March, 2011.

During the meeting Minister Zacarias da Costa expressed Timor-Leste's appreciation to the Secretary General of ASEAN for receiving him and his delegation. The delegation included Ambassador Manuel Serrano, Director General for Regional Integration, Dr. Marciano da Silva, Director for ASEAN, Dra. Dirce Carolina Soares, and the Minister's Chief of Staff, Mr. Joao Tavares.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Timor-Leste informed the Secretary General of ASEAN that he will handover Timor-Leste's formal application letter to his counterpart, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Dr. Marty Natalegawa, as the current Chair of ASEAN. The meeting between the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Timor-Leste and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia will take place in Jakarta on the 4th of March, 2011.

At this meeting the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Timor-Leste said that “Timor-Leste has achieved a lot of progress and continues to make efforts in other areas especially, the economic development of the country.”

Minister da Costa also stated that “Timor-Leste has developed a road map for preparation to ASEAN accession, which soon will be presented to the Council of Ministers for endorsement.”

During the meeting the Minister highlighted the importance of building the capacities of East Timorese, especially those involved in matters related to the ASEAN.

In response the Secretary General, said that “ is very happy that Timor-Leste has taken this important step and that Timor-Leste in one way or another has been mentioned in ASEAN since 1999. Therefore,Timor-Leste is in ASEAN landscape.” The Secretary General also stated that “The best form of Timor-Leste integration is through economic integration specially between private sector.” The SG also express his satisfaction and congratulated Timor-Leste for successfully hosting the Fifth ARF EEPs meeting in Dili between 27 and 28 of January 2011.

Minister Zacarias also stated that the current Ambassador of Timor-Leste to Indonesia will be accredited as the Ambassador of Timor-Leste to ASEAN.

The Secretary General of ASEAN was very pleased with the news and said that he is available to receive Ambassador Serrano.

Before the meeting was finished, the Minister for Foreign Affairs conveyed the regards of the President, Jose Ramos Horta, and the Prime-Minister of Timor-Leste, Xanana Gusmão, and took the opportunity to reiterate his invitation to the Secretary General of ASEAN to visit Timor-Leste.

The Secretary General of ASEAN, H.E. Surin Pitswan, said he appreciated the invitation and said that he would be visiting Dili as soon as possible. He also reciprocated his best wishes to the President of the Republic and to the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste.