Dili, May 20, 2024. In a historic ceremony in Dili, Timor-Leste’s President Jose Ramos-Horta bestowed the nation’s highest honor, the Grand Collar of the Order of Timor-Leste, upon His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam.

The award came as the Southeast Asian leader was the guest of honor at celebrations marking the 22nd anniversary of Timor-Leste’s restoration of independence.

A Warm Welcome at the Presidential Palace
Ramos-Horta rolled out the red carpet for the Sultan, warmly welcoming him to the Nicolau Lobato Presidential Palace for the independence day festivities. In decorating the Brunei monarch with the Grand Collar, the President recognized his leadership and contributions to peace and stability in the region as one of ASEAN’s founding members.

Shared Values and Close Ties
In his speech, the Timor-Leste leader celebrated the close friendship between the two nations, rooted in their shared values and status as small, young ASEAN states. He highlighted their robust cooperation in areas like the oil and gas industry.

Ramos-Horta praised the Sultan as “an outstanding global leader” and hailed Brunei as “a beacon of peace and stability.” He expressed gratitude for Brunei’s steadfast support of Timor-Leste’s ASEAN accession and commitment to its national development.

A Bright Future of Cooperation
Looking ahead, the President pointed to Brunei’s remarkable achievements as a model and called for expanded cooperation across sectors including tourism, education, health and environmental protection.
After the ceremony, the two leaders met for bilateral discussions on strengthening ties and promoting sustainable development aligning with ASEAN goals.

Ramos-Horta voiced hope that the visit would “inspire an ever-brighter future” for the flourishing partnership between Timor-Leste and Brunei.

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