Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Zacarias Albano da Costa was in Singapore on three days working visit and met with his counterpart Dr. K. Shanmuga, and discussed various issues of bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation including the current issues affecting the international and regional peace and security today.
During the meeting, Minister da Costa also thank Singapore for its consistent support to Timor-Leste and briefed his counterpart on the overall political and socio-economic development in Timor-Leste and reiterated that over the past three years Timor-Leste has been one of the fastest growing economies in the region.
“Since the restoration of Timor-Leste’s independence in 2002, Singapore has never faltered in its efforts to support our national institutional development. Singaporean entrepreneurs have come to Timor-Leste and invested heavily in our dynamic economy because of the excellent business opportunities and the ever-growing number of young Timorese with the required expertise and skills for the construction and infrastructure industries, Information Technology and oil and gas”, Minister da Costa said.
The Timor-Leste’s Foreign Minister also reiterated the willingness of Timor-Leste to join ASEAN and took the opportunity to explain the road map to full membership, requesting the support of the Singapore Government to endorse Timor-Leste’s application on ASEAN membership. Timor-Leste is tapped with profuse mineral oil and gas, could be an advantage for the integration of ASEAN Community.
Minister da Costa further emphasized that Timor-Leste is an integral part of the South East Asian region and is determined to contribute positively and meaningfully towards ASEAN Community. He also referred that Timor-Leste has a strong emotional ties and constructive relations with ASEAN member countries. Some Asean countries like Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand have contributed enormously towards Timor-Leste’s nation building and state building process.
During the talks, Minister da Costa also pointed out that Timor-Leste could become a strategic member in reinforcing the connectivity links of ASEAN with the Pacific as well as with the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, a Community which is present in all the continents.
Minister Shanmugam accepted Timor-Leste’s Foreign Minister invitation to visit Dili at the most appropriate time and reiterated Singapore’s continuous support to the country.
Foreign Minister da Costa was accompanied by Timor-Leste Ambassador to Singapore, Mr. Roberto Soares and the Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser for Political and Diplomatic Affairs to the Foreign Minister, Mr. João Tavares. –END