President’s Hall, Malacañan Palace
November 10, 2023

“This State Visit aimed to revitalize bilateral relations between the Republic of the Philippines and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste,” said President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. during a joint press conference with President José Ramos-Horta at the President’s Hall, Malacañan Palace.

In his statement, the President conveyed that the Timorese leader’s visit is an opportunity to study the platforms of cooperation and partnerships between their two nations, as well as the importance of political cooperation and people-to-people exchanges.

“President Ramos-Horta and I committed to direct our respective Ministries to further the negotiations on the following fields: To reconvene the policy consultations to be hosted by Timor-Leste in the near future; to explore the possibilities of having direct flights between our capitals through an Air Services Agreement; to establish a Bilateral Social Security Agreement to be a safety net for both our country’s professionals; and to strengthen educational cooperation between our higher learning institutions and increase our student exchanges,” he said.

The Chief Executive reiterated the Administration’s commitment to assist Timor-Leste in terms of skills formation of its people, noting the increase of engagement in such technical cooperation under the direction of the Technical Cooperation Council of the Philippines (TCCP), an attached agency of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

On his final note, the Chief Executive reaffirmed his support to Timor-Leste’s membership bid in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). “I recall that during the recent 42nd ASEAN Summit in Indonesia, we ASEAN Leaders adopted the Roadmap for Timor-Leste’s full membership in ASEAN. We shall strive to pursue this work alongside our ASEAN brothers and sisters and we look forward to seeing Timor-Leste’s status in ASEAN to be successfully elevated from an observer to a full member in the near future, ” the President concluded in his statement.

In response, President Ramos-Horta expressed gratitude to President Marcos Jr. for the warm welcome and conveyed his appreciation for the Philippines’ support in Timor-Leste’s ASEAN membership application and capacity building efforts. He also applauded the current state of peace, stability, investment confidence and economic growth in the Philippines.

“And I believe, there’s a plenty of room for the Philippines to participate in supporting us in this, our endeavor to improve our economy, ” he said.

The Philippines and Timor-Leste are celebrating 21 years of diplomatic relationship this 2023.

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