Ruak receives good news “TL is likely to join ASEAN in 2023”

Ruak receives good news “TL is likely to join ASEAN in 2023”

Timorese Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak. Tatoli's image//Francisco Sony

DILI, 07 august 2022 (TATOLI) – Timor-Leste is likely to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2023, revealed Timorese Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak.

“It’s good news for us because I was informed that Timor-Leste has met the criteria to join ASEAN probably next year. If we won’t join it in 2023, then we will have to cancel our application,” said Ruak in Dili.

He said it’s hard to join a regional organization like ASEAN than entering heaven: “I just don’t know why Timor-Leste is yet to join ASEAN. Recently, I spoke to the Singaporean Prime Minister about this case. I asked him about Singaporean’s disapproval of Timor-Leste’s bid, but he said that wasn’t true. He told me that Singapore will continue supporting Timor-Leste’s accession to ASEAN.”

“Hopefully, next year, all ASEAN member States would approve our application to be the new member of ASEAN,” he said.

Ruak pledged to ask the ASEAN Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) to help Timor-Leste with its roadmap on the accession to ASEAN: “So, that we can have a better preparation.”

When it comes to infrastructure development, Ruak urged the Fact-Finding Mission to not look only from their side.

“They need to consider our situation because Timor-Leste is a new country. They shouldn’t force Timor-Leste to be in the same position as those countries that got their independence 50 years ago. It takes time to develop a country with very limited resources like Timor-Leste. Of course, we still have 40% of Timorese people living below the poverty line and we need to work hard to combat poverty in Timor-Leste,” said Ruak.

It’s been a decade since 2011 Timor-Leste submitted its bid for ASEAN membership, but it has yet to join the organization.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional grouping that aims to promote economic and security cooperation among its ten members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.


Journalist: Antonia Gusmão  

Editor: Julia Chatarina/ Nelia Bores

Translation: Filomeno Martins


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