Indonesia will always support Timor Leste’s ASEAN membership: Widodo


Jakarta, – Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has emphasized that Indonesia will always support Timor Leste’s membership in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

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“Indonesia always supports Timor Leste’s membership application and implementation of the membership road map, including through increasing the capacity of Timor Leste officials,” he said during a bilateral meeting with Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Monday.

This year, Indonesia is chairing the ASEAN and will conduct the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta from September 5 to 7. The summit will be attended by 19 state leaders, including ASEAN partner countries and Timor Leste, who will attend as an observer before officially joining the association.

According to President Widodo, Indonesia and Timor Leste are related, therefore the partnership between the two countries must be strengthened. He also congratulated Gusmao on his inauguration as Timor Leste PM on July 1.

“Welcome to Jakarta and congratulations on your noble inauguration. Indonesia and Timor Leste are related so our partnership must be further strengthened,” the President said.

The bilateral meeting between President Widodo and PM Gusmao took place ahead of the ASEAN Summit. Besides Gusmao, Widodo also held bilateral meetings with the prime ministers of the Cook Islands, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

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Timor Leste was accepted, in principle, as the 11th member of ASEAN at the summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, last year. Since then, it has ratified more than 50 instruments, treaties, and agreements as well as carried out more capacity-building training, and expanded its infrastructure network to accommodate the needs and obligations of being an ASEAN member nation.

Ahead of the ASEAN Summit, a number of heads of state arrived in Indonesia on September 3 and 4, including the Vietnamese Prime Minister (PM) Pham Minh Chinh, Cambodian PM Hun Manet, Laos PM Sonexay Siphandone, Malaysian PM Anwar Ibrahim, and Cook Islands PM Mark Brown.

As chair of the 2023 ASEAN, Indonesia has raised the theme “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth.” Through the theme, it is seeking to ensure that ASEAN remains relevant in facing future challenges and promoting stability and peace in the region.

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Indonesia will also continue to strengthen concrete cooperation in the region to realize ASEAN as the center of world economic growth.

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