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Timor Leste to 'Ideally' become full ASEAN member in 2025: President

Jakarta Globe - August 7, 2023

Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Timor Leste will "ideally" become a full-fledged ASEAN member in 2025 even though the country remains open to other time frames recommended by other Southeast Asian leaders, according to its president, Jose Ramos-Horta.

"I and the Prime Minister have agreed that [Timor Leste's full ASEAN membership] would ideally occur in 2025," Ramos-Horta told the Democracy Dialogue forum in Jakarta on Monday.

"ASEAN leaders may decide some other time or year. Maybe in 2024, and we would obviously go along with it. If it were to occur in 2025, it would mean we have two solid years to build on the progress that we have made under the roadmap to be better [prepared] as a full-fledged member," Ramos-Horta said.

ASEAN has agreed in principle to accept Timor Leste as its 11th member. ASEAN already granted Timor Leste an observer status, enabling the country to join its meetings, including the group's summit plenaries.

The Southeast Asian bloc's leaders adopted a roadmap for Timor Leste's full membership when they assembled in Labuan Bajo in May. Ramos-Horta said Timor Leste had been developing an action plan. And this blueprint is set to transform the roadmap that ASEAN had endorsed into the Timor Leste government's annual action plans.

"The action plan aiming to ensure the initiatives and activities of each ministry contributes to the overall accession process and regional integration efforts. The roadmap also aligns with our national strategic development plan," Ramos-Horta said.

Timor Leste also pledged to undertake institutional reforms, among others, to make sure that its ASEAN membership not only benefits the nation but the region as a whole.

According to Ramos-Horta, Timor Leste plans to appoint an ambassador to ASEAN soon as it works on its membership.

Ramos-Horta's statement came not long after his prime minister Xanana Gusmao said that Timor Leste would reconsider joining ASEAN if the bloc failed to solve the Myanmar crisis.

"As prime minister, Timor Leste will not join ASEAN if the association is unable to convince the military junta. I have also conveyed Timor Leste's position to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres," Gusmao said last week, as reported by news-viptv.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/timor-leste-to-ideally-become-full-asean-member-in-2025-presiden