Indonesia brings Timor Leste a step closer to Asean membership

Jakarta (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) agreed to allow Timor Leste to "participate" in the grouping's next meetings, thanks to lobbying by Indonesia during Asean's 22nd Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said on Friday.

"It was a small but significant improvement [in Timor Leste's bid to attain full Asean membership]," Marty said at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport in East Jakarta after arriving from Bandar Seri Begawan. "We are still waiting for the formal decision on it."

The minister, however, did not delve into the limitations on Timor Leste's "participation" in Asean's upcoming meetings.

Marty was among President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's delegation carrying out a five-day Asean tour, which also included state visits to Singapore and Myanmar. The Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737-800 carrying the President, First Lady Ani Yudhoyono and delegates touched down on Friday afternoon.

The approval of Timor Leste's bid to have a greater role in Asean was also included in the summit chairman's statement.

"We were encouraged by the progress in discussions of the Asean Coordinating Council [ACC] and the ACC Working Group [ACCWG] on all relevant aspects related to the application by Timor Leste, as well as its possible implication for Asean, and agreed to explore the possibility of Timor Leste's participation in Asean activities within the context of its need for capacity building," the statement read.

Indonesia's commitment to supporting Timor Leste's bid to join Asean was also reiterated by Yudhoyono when he met visiting Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao in Jakarta last month.

The "small" improvement achieved in Bandar Seri Begawan might be seen as a "big" step by Dili as Timor Leste's bid to join the bloc has been to no avail for years, despite Indonesia's repeated stress on the importance of having Indonesia's former 27th province in Asean.

Indonesia annexed Timor Leste (at that time East Timor) in 1975, but lost control of it after a referendum in 1999. Timor Leste formally declared independence in May 2002.

Dili has proposed its inclusion as an Asean member since 2007 but its formal application was submitted in 2011 under Indonesia's Asean chairmanship.

Before leaving for Jakarta, Yudhoyono said that Indonesia's next task after the summit would be ensuring its readiness to welcome the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

"You ought not to say that 'we're not ready'. Stop complaining. Let's do something together," he told the press in Bandar Seri Begawan as quoted by Antara news agency.

The President said that he would immediately set up a committee to ensure the readiness of Indonesia to welcome the AEC. He said that he had assigned Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa to establish the committee.

The committee will include representatives from a wide variety of backgrounds, including the state government, local administrations, business, labor unions and experts. The committee will identify, among others things, industrial sectors that still need to be enhanced ahead of the implementation of the AEC

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines backs support for small enterprises at APEC meet

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines' top trade official on Saturday called for support for the integration of micro, small and medium enterprises in global trade, which he said would help reduce poverty and inequality in the Asia-Pacific region. …

  • US renews travel warning to Mindanao
    US renews travel warning to Mindanao

    The US State Department renewed its warning about the risks of travel to the Philippines, in particular to the Sulu archipelago, certain regions and cities of Mindanao and the southern Sulu Sea area. In an update on Wednesday of a travel warning it issued Nov. 20, 2014, the State Department said US citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu archipelago due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there. …

  • Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda
    Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda

    The Philippine initiative to put the interests of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) front and center in global and regional trade has made significant progress following the conclusion on Thursday of the 2nd APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and Related Meetings in Boracay, Aklan. Called “The Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs,” the Philippine proposal calls for a host of specific, concrete and practical interventions that APEC economies can implement to provide MSMEs wider …

  • Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week
    Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week

    The Philippines will join a 15-nation meeting in Bangkok, Thailand next week to address the migration crisis involving thousands of Rohingyas who escaped persecution in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima bared this yesterday after meeting with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representative to the Philippines Bernard Kerblat. In an interview, De Lima said the Philippine government has been invited to the meeting. …

  • Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon
    Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon

    LEGAZPI CITY—A magnitude 4.2 earthquake hit Prieto Diaz town in Sorsogon before dawn yesterday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said. …

  • Drought-resistant rice breeds bared
    Drought-resistant rice breeds bared

    SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija – Amid the searing heat, the Philippine Rice Research Institute central experiment station here has identified nine rice breeds which have been proven to be drought-resistant and produce high yields in temperatures as high as 38°C based on a recent study. Thelma Padolina, lead researcher of the study titled “Screening of rice-induced mutants for heat and drought tolerance,” identified the breeding lines as the Ballatinaw lines, PSB Rc72H and Azucena lines. …

  • Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning
    Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning

    The United States military will continue air and sea patrols in international waters even after the Chinese navy repeatedly warned a US surveillance plane to leave the airspace over artificial islands China is creating in the disputed South China Sea. The Philippine government also declared it would continue activities in the region, calling on China to respect freedom of navigation and aviation. “Our position on the importance of letting freedom of navigation, freedom of aviation and …

  • MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned
    MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned

    Electricity and mobile phone services would be cut throughout Metro Manila, and all private and government offices and businesses, including shopping malls, would be closed. That would be the situation on July 16 between 3 and 8 p.m. to simulate the scenario of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has warned that an earthquake of that magnitude could occur and kill at least 33,500 people and injure at least 113,600 others following a …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options