Nicolau Lobato Presidential Palace, Dili, 19 March 2019
The Irish Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Damien English, was welcomed by the President of the Republic Francisco Guterres Lú Olo, thus initiating a new chapter in cooperation between both countries.
The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss Timor-Leste’s progress over the past 20 years and Ireland’s support to national development valued at over 70 million dollars.
Damien English’s visit to Timor-Leste strengthens bilateral cooperation and opens a new chapter in relations between both countries, which includes the exchange of official and business visits.
The Irish Minister of State has been very pleased with Timor-Leste’s progress over the past 20 years and has informed the Head of State that the Republic of Ireland’s support will now focus on human resources and education.
Following the economic crisis, the Republic of Ireland has reassessed its policy on international development assistance, which is now focused on countries that have fought for their independence.
On the occasion, Damien English was grateful for the invitation addressed to him by the Timorese Head of State invitation to participate in the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the referendum in Dili.
The cooperation with Timor-Leste was established through the Republic of Ireland Embassy in Singapore. The Republic of Ireland was a major supporter of Timor-Leste’s struggle for independence. After the referendum, the then Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and the then Foreign Minister David Alexandre Andrews visited Timor-Leste.
In 2003, Irish Aid opened a country office in Dili to support the Timorese government and civil society organisations. In 2012 it ceased its presence in the country, although maintaining its support to small development projects until 2016.