Dili, 19 November 2015 – His Excellency the President of the Republic, Taur Matan Ruak, accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hernani Coelho, swore in on Friday, during a ceremony held at the Presidential Palace, the ambassadors that will represent Timor-Leste in five countries – Bendito Freitas to the People’s Republic of China; Aleixo da Cruz to Japan; Felicidade de Sousa Guterres to the Kingdom of Cambodia; Joaquim Amaral to the Kingdom of Thailand; and Adaljiza Magno to the Republic of Singapore – as well as Egas da Costa Freitas to the Holy See.
In his speech after the swearing-in ceremony, the Head of State noted that the ambassadors’ mission is to “promote and represent the country”, defending its interests in the countries to which they are appointed, and “protect the reputation and credibility” of Timor-Leste.
The Head of State asked the sworn-in ambassadors to strengthen the relations between Timor-Leste and their host countries and to stimulate the interest of foreign investors, despite the barriers to investment arising from the lack of a legal framework to regulate land property:
“We talk about investment – the President of the Republic talks about it, the ambassadors talk about it – we talk about economic diplomacy, but then they ask us about our land law. We keep talking about this or that so that people do not say that we are talking about a subject that we do not understand.”
The Head of State also said that the ambassadors’ mission will not be easy, but he believes that they are ready to represent the interests of Timor-Leste abroad:
“Your work is not easy, but it is not impossible either, especially at a time when we want our country to develop quickly and efficiently. The support of these countries is important, especially the support of the countries in the ASEAN region. We want to be members of ASEAN. We are not in a rush, but we want to join them. In regard to China and its development strategy, Timor-Leste can benefit from its new Silk Road. As for Japan, it has always been our partner and the relations between the two countries must be strengthened. It is also important to maintain good relations with the Vatican, because it has a deep connection to our national identity.
“Once again, I congratulate you and wish you success in your mission”, he added.
Bendito dos Santos Freitas (former minister of education of the 5th Constitutional Government) will replace Ambassador Vicky Tchong; Filomeno Aleixo (former deputy minister of state administration of the 2nd Constitutional Government by FRETILIN) will replace Ambassador Isilio Coelho; Egas da Costa Freitas (former teacher at the Secondary School of Vemasse, Baucau) will take the position vacated by Ambassador Egidio de Jesus, who passed away in 2014; and Adaljiza Magno (former deputy minister of foreign affairs of the 1st Constitutional Government by FRETILIN) will replace Ambassador (chargé d’affaires) Domingos Savio. In the case of Cambodia, this will be the first diplomatic mission of Timor-Leste to this country.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hernani Coelho; the Civilian Chief of Staff to the President, Rui Gomes; the Military Chief of Staff to the President, Colonel José da Costa “Trix”; and family members of the sworn-in ambassadors also participated in the ceremony.