The Minister of Foreign Affairs today welcomed his Australian counterpart, the Honorable Kevin Rudd M. P, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, “as a friend of Timor-Leste”.
Speaking after a meeting at the Foreign Ministry, Minister da Costa said it was a great honour to welcome Foreign Minister Rudd back to Timor-Leste. “Foreign Minister Rudd is a great friend of Timor-Leste and we know that Timor-Leste has a special place in his heart,” said Minister da Costa. The Minister added, “Minister Rudd knows very well our country Timor-Leste, and we consider him to be one of us.”
In response, Minister Kevin Rudd spoke of the valuable relationship between Australia and Timor-Leste. “I am proud that Australia is a long-term partner of Timor-Leste, it is great to be back and I tell you that Timor-Leste has a significant place in my heart.”
Minister da Costa and Minister Rudd discussed a number of issues of mutual interest including Australian full support for Timor-Leste’s membership to ASEAN, the UN transition mandate in Timor-Leste, economic development, infrastructure, education, health and security. In the areas of education and health, Minister Rudd told journalists that Australia has just refurbished 3,000 classrooms and assisted with 43,000 surgical procedures, including 8,000 for people in life-threatening situation, as example of Australian assistance to the country. Minister Rudd also spoke of the combined challenge to lift people from poverty, and reiterated Australian long term engagement with Timor-Leste
Minister Rudd is on a two-day official visit to Timor-Leste at the invitation of Minister Zacarias da Costa.