JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Timor Leste has recently submitted a candidate for leading its mission to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) after the country received in-principle approval to join the regional bloc as its 11th member state.
The approval was stated by the 10 ASEAN leaders in November last year in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Their short statement also agreed to grant an observer status to the Asian’s youngest country.
As an observer, Timor Leste will officially participate in all ASEAN Meetings, including the Summits.
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“That’s why we need a head of mission [to ASEAN],” said Timor Leste’s Ambassador to Indonesia Filomeno Aleixo da Cruz in an interview with go.kompas.com on Feb. 20.
Filomeno said as an observer, Timor Leste gets opportunities to attend the bloc meetings.
“Have a say at the start or at the end of a meeting that we are invited to,” he said, adding that Timor Leste delegation will also receive similar documents provided for the ASEAN delegates.
The proposal to have a dedicated official for ASEAN is still ongoing as the country is waiting for an agreement from the ASEAN.
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Later, once the country becomes a full member, Timor Leste will assign permanent representative to ASEAN, he said.
The request to have a head of mission also reflects the country’s earnestness to fully participate in ASEAN following its formal application for membership in 2011.
Last year, the leaders also agreed to formalize an objective criteria-based Roadmap for Timor Leste’s full membership and to fully support Timor Leste by providing capacity building assistance and other relevant support for its full membership in ASEAN.
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