Horta urges Gusmão’s government and parliament to consider TL’s accession to ASEAN as top priority

Horta urges Gusmão’s government and parliament to consider TL’s accession to ASEAN as top priority

President of Republic of TImor-Leste, José Ramos Horta (Photo Tatoli/Francisco Sony)

DILI, 01 june 2023 (TATOLI) – The President of the Republic, José Ramos Horta, in his speech at the swearing-in ceremony of the IX Constitutional Government, called on the new Government, led by Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, to consider the accession of Timor-Leste to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a top priority.

Horta made the appeal in his speech at the swearing-in ceremony of the new Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, José Alexandre Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, at the Presidential Palace, in Dili, today.

“Let me make some recommendations to the Government and the National Parliament. Our accession to ASEAN is a national strategic goal to which we must mobilize all national attention and resources. In terms of national and international policy, ASEAN membership takes precedence over all other priorities,” said Horta.

To the Government and National Parliament, the Head of State recommended: “At the Government level strengthen sectoral and inter-ministerial coordination, preferably under the direct responsibility of the Prime Minister, with the implementation of the Road Map as the base working document.”

“At the National Parliament level, I recommend the creation of a Parliamentary Committee for ASEAN, to accelerate the necessary legislative process, including treaty ratification,” Horta emphasized.

Horta also called on the National Parliament to approve a Legislative Authorization to the Government to undertake all necessary legislative acts such as elimination of double taxation, investment protection, and an arbitration commission for the speedy and fair resolution of disputes, etc.”

The Nobel Peace Prize laureates stressed that Every effort should be made so that Timor-Leste’s formal accession to ASEAN is celebrated during Indonesia’s Presidency, that is, in 2023 or 2024.

At the inauguration ceremony, the Head of State shared his speech at the ASEAN Heads of State and Government Summit, held in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, under the Presidency of Indonesia: “ASEAN membership has always been Timor-Leste’s strategic goal. ASEAN membership – regional economic integration, peace and inclusive prosperity – is not only a “foreign policy priority”, but it is also very much a pillar of our national life and agenda.”

Horta said Timor-Leste and ASEAN Member States share common interests in promoting durable peace and sustainable development through active cross-regional strategies encompassing sociocultural and economic dimensions.

“The adoption by ASEAN Leaders of an objective criteria-based Roadmap enables us to move progressively with sufficient time towards full membership in the near future,” He hoped.

Integration into ASEAN provides opportunities for Timor-Leste to fulfill its interests and strategic development goals, namely investment in strategic pillars that would significantly improve the health, education, and quality of life of our people.

Timor-Leste is firmly committed to undertaking institutional, policy, and regulatory reforms, enhancing human resource development, investing in the strategic infrastructure that creates new opportunities for our economy, and addressing the common regional challenges in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect. This would ensure that our membership benefits not only our country but the region as a whole.

“Timor-Leste will continue to count on the active support of the ASEAN Member States and partners in the implementation of the Roadmap. We welcome and express our deep appreciation to all ASEAN Member States and external partners who have launched capacity-building programs for Timorese officials covering a wide range of development,” Horta emphasized.


Journalist: Filomeno Martins

Editor: Rafael Ximenes de A. Belo


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