Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan called on President José Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão, and met Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Bendito dos Santos Freitas on 24 July 2023. Minister Balakrishnan and Minister Freitas held a Joint Press Conference after their meeting.
During the meetings, Minister Balakrishnan and the Timorese leaders affirmed the warm and longstanding relations between Singapore and Timor-Leste. Minister Balakrishnan underscored Singapore’s strong and consistent support for Timor-Leste’s development. Singapore was amongst the first countries to contribute to peacekeeping and nation building efforts in Timor-Leste, including over 1,000 personnel and equipment between 1999 and 2012. The Singapore Police Force also sent police officers to Timor-Leste to assist in setting up the East Timor Police Service. Singapore is a major foreign investor in Timor-Leste in areas such as real estate and hospitality. At the people-to-people level, Singaporeans are contributing to Timor-Leste’s healthcare and education sectors. Minister Balakrishnan reiterated Singapore’s commitment to support capacity-building in Timor-Leste through the Singapore Cooperation Programme, which has welcomed more than 800 Timorese officials.
Minister Balakrishnan conveyed to the Timorese leaders that Singapore will establish a resident Embassy in Dili. The Timorese leaders warmly welcomed the announcement. The Embassy will act as a focal point to expand bilateral cooperation, including in areas such as trade and investment, tourism, defence, energy and human resources.
Minister Balakrishnan underscored Singapore’s support for Timor-Leste’s eventual accession to ASEAN, in accordance with the Roadmap for Timor-Leste’s Full Membership in ASEAN adopted by the ASEAN Leaders in May 2023. Singapore will continue to support Timor-Leste in fulfilling the Roadmap, including through the Singapore – Timor-Leste ASEAN Readiness Support (STARS) package launched in December 2022.
Minister Balakrishnan will call on Vice Prime Minister Francisco Kalbuadi Lay and be hosted to dinner by Minister Freitas later today.
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MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
24 JULY 2023