Luanda, Angola – July 9, 2024. In a speech at the Venâncio Moura Diplomatic Academy in Luanda, President José Ramos-Horta offered a compelling account of the country’s journey to independence and subsequent progress.

Ramos-Horta highlighted the complex international negotiations that led to Timor-Leste’s freedom from Indonesian occupation, praising the roles of world leaders like Kofi Annan and Bill Clinton. He emphasized the significance of the 1999 referendum and the strategic decisions made by Timorese leaders during this critical period.

Reflecting on the 24 years since independence, the President noted significant achievements, including over a decade of peace, expanded electricity coverage to 97.28% of the country, and increased life expectancy to nearly 70 years. However, the President also acknowledged ongoing challenges in combating extreme poverty and child malnutrition.

Ramos-Horta concluded by discussing Timor-Leste’s surprising role as an international investor, with holdings in the U.S. Treasury bonds and a sovereign wealth fund that has diversified into global stock markets, bringing substantial returns to the young nation.

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