Nicolau Lobato Presidential Palace, April 2, 2024, President J. Ramos-Horta met with ASEAN Secretary General Kao Kim Hourn at the Nicolau Lobato Presidential Palace to discuss Timor-Leste’s bid to become a full member of the regional bloc ASEAN.

In the interview after the meeting, Hourn praised Ramos-Horta’s “very strong commitment to bring Timor-Leste to be part of ASEAN.” He said the discussions covered how Timor-Leste can participate in ASEAN activities and support the group’s efforts even before gaining full membership.

“It’s very clear that the president has a clear vision to be part of ASEAN, and this strong commitment translated to the actual work for Timor-Leste that formally requested to become a full member in 2011,” Hourn stated. “We also have a commitment to bring Timor-Leste on board as a full member of ASEAN.”

ASEAN looks forward to “working closely with Timor-Leste at different levels” as the country makes progress on joining. He recognized Timor-Leste’s efforts, such as sending delegations to ASEAN leaders meetings, saying “everything is in the right direction for Timor-Leste to join ASEAN in 2025.” President Ramos-Horta reaffirmed his desire for Timor-Leste “to be part of ASEAN sooner,” according to Hourn.

Timor-Leste has been an ASEAN candidate member since 2011 and is seeking to meet all the criteria to become the bloc’s 11th member state by 2025.

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