Antara, Jakarta – Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi and her counterpart from Timor Leste, Bendito Dos Santos Freitas, agreed to conclude both countries' long-halted negotiations on land and sea borders.
According to a statement released by the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry in Jakarta on Saturday, both ministers affirmed that their governments are prioritizing the development of the exclusive economic zones in Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and Timor Leste's exclave, Oecusse-Ambeno.
The statement further revealed that the two countries will first finalize land border talks before proceeding to discuss matters related to sea borders.
The agreement was reached during the two ministers' meeting on Thursday (July 13) on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Post Ministerial Conference with Timor Leste in the 56th ASEAN Foreign Affairs Ministers' Meeting (AMM).
During the meeting, Minister Freitas expressed his country's commitment to maintaining coordination with Indonesia in order to further intensify the bilateral relationship.
Apart from drawing attention to border issues, the minister also extended his appreciation to Indonesia for its staunch support for Timor Leste, including within the framework of ASEAN.
The 42nd ASEAN Summit in Labuan Bajo, NTT, on May 9-11, constituted Timor Leste's important milestone, as the country attended its unprecedented ASEAN Summit in the capacity of an observer.
At the summit, the ASEAN member countries adopted a dedicated road map that outlines various steps that Timor Leste has to go through in order to gain full membership in the regional association.
Nine ASEAN member countries and Timor Leste participated in the series of activities of the 56th AMM.
Meanwhile, Myanmar, still grappling with its political crisis, skipped the meeting, as it did not delegate any non-political representatives.
The ASEAN comprises 10 member states in Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar.
On the occasion of the 41st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in November last year, the member countries agreed, in principle, to accept Timor Leste as the 11th member of the bloc.