East Timor seeks support in bid for Asean membership

national February 08, 2012 00:00

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East Timor or Timor-Leste on Wednesday sought Thailand's assistance and support in its quest for membership of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or Asean.


The request was made by East Timor’s Foreign Minister Zacarius Albano da Costa who is visiting the country as a guest of the Thai foreign ministry.
The minister paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at the Government House. They discussed bilateral cooperation and the strengthening of ties between the two countries.
Da Costa asked Thailand for support in preparing for his country for Asean membership in the hope that it would become part of the family soon.
Thailand established diplomatic relations with East Timor in 2002, the year the latter became independent from Indonesia. This year, the two countries are celebrating 10 years of friendship.
He told the premier that his government was grateful to Thailand for supporting East Timor independence in 2002 and that his country intends to foster bilateral relations with Thailand. 
He also invited Thailand to attend East Timor’s independence celebration on May 20.
Yingluck invited the country to send delegates to the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Bangkok during May 31-June 1.
She also thanked the country for its support during Thailand’s flood crisis last year.
Earlier da Costa held discussion with his Thai counterpart, Surapong Tovichakchaikul, to discuss bilateral cooperation, particularly on technical cooperation. Thailand continues to provide human resources development assistance to East Timor. 
Surapong proposed holding the 1st Annual Consultation Meeting on Technical Cooperation later this year to review and follow up the mid-term progress under a 3-year plan of cooperation in the fields of agriculture, fisheries and public health.
Surapong also invited East Timor’s Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to attend the 2nd Asia-Pacific Water Summit to be held in Thailand in May.
Thailand and East Timor have enjoyed close and cordial relations, spurred in part by Thailand’s development diplomacy through technical cooperation under the Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency (TICA). 
Thailand also continues to dispatch military and police officers to the UN mission in East Timor. In 2011, the volume of bilateral trade reached US$16.07 million.

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