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POLITICS, NATIONAL, DILI

Ruak and Australian Ambassador inaugurate Museum of Veterans of Fort Balibo

Ruak and Australian Ambassador inaugurate Museum of Veterans of Fort Balibo

Bobonaro, 01 may 2022 (TATOLI) – Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak, accompanied by the Australian Ambassador, Bill Costello, and the former Premier of the State of Victoria, Australia, Steve Bracks, inaugurated the completion of the new and renovated infrastructure of the Museum of the Veterans of the Fort of Balibo.

The inauguration marked the celebration of the historical and centenary memory of the Timorese People’s Struggle for the cause of freedom against the invader, as well as paying homage to the Martyrs and Combatants of the National Liberation Struggle, and to the national or foreigners, who, with effort, sweat and blood, sacrificed their lives for the Timorese cause.

In his speech, Ruak said the inauguration was also to celebrate the bonds of fraternal friendship that united the Timorese and Australian People.

He said Australia and Timorese grew their ties since the invasion of the Japanese troops in the Second World War II.

“Today, we celebrate the ties that go back to the period of the Japanese Invasion in the Second World War, during which the Timorese and Australian Military, side by side resisted aggression and external oppression, in a spirit of union and comradeship,” Ruak said in a statement released on sunday (01/05).

Symbolic ties are of great importance for the Timorese National Identity: “In this Land of Balibo, near the land border, in a region of constant struggles, bloodshed, and great hardships imposed on our citizens and communities,” he said.

“Ties of memory and tribute to the Freedom of the Press are shared with the citizens and communities in Australia, that remember, in this ceremony, the massacre of five Australian journalists, who, in 1975, covered the international news of the invasion of our national territory,” stressed Ruak.

He said the renovation of the Museum of the Veterans of the Fort of Balibo was sponsored by the Australian Government and Civil Society, represented by Australian Ambassador, Bill Costello, and the former Premier of the State of Victoria, Australia, Steve Bracks.

“This is part of a mission that aims at a better knowledge and understanding of the different periods of our history, colonial, invasion, and occupation, of resistance and resilience, in the year we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Restoration of National Independence,” Ruak emphasized.

He added with the renovation of the museum, Balibó town would become richer, with a new and modern service available to the Timorese citizens and foreign tourists, who visit the place.

“The service will certainly contribute to the development and diversification of the socio-economic activities of the Town of Balibó and the Municipality of Bobonaro, at a time when we are marking the return to normality post-COVID-19 with the reopening of borders, and we are focusing on the continued recovery of our economy, which has been greatly affected by the negative impacts left by the Pandemic,” Ruak explained.

Ruak hoped that the Balibo Fort Veterans Museum would continue to contribute to the sharing of experiences, and common principles and values of Freedom, Security, and Democracy, which over the years have united the Australian and Timorese people, strengthening the partnerships of cooperation and fraternal friendship that united both our Countries.

He thanked Australian Ambassador, Bill Costello, for the support of the Australian Government (Market Development Facility (MDF), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and the Department of Defense).

“I would also like to thank the benefactors of the Balibo Trust Fund, represented by former Premier of the State of Victoria, Australia, Steve Bracks, for his generous contribution. Lastly, I would like to thank all the volunteers, technicians, and workers who carried out the work, for your dedication and commitment,” Ruak concluded.

Journalist: Filomeno Martins

Editor: Nelia Borges Rosario

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