6 June 2013
Stronger bilateral cooperation between the Philippines and Democratic Republic of Timor Leste is expected to happen as President Benigno S. Aquino III officially welcomed His Excellency Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste in Malacañan Palace.
In a joint press statement, President Aquino acknowledged the existing mutual understanding of the two countries especially in the sectors of trade and investment, infrastructure, education and defense. He particularly mentioned the tripled rate of trade exchange between Philippines and Timor Leste as well as the more than 100 Timorese students who are studying in the country. He also thanked the Timor Leste leader for donating $US 750,000 for the Typhoon Pablo victims.
The President gladly informed the Prime Minister that he will back Timor Leste’s bid for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) membership, where the Philippines is one of its founding members.
In reply, Prime Minister Gusmão expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the President’s warm reception to him and his delegation. He noted that apart from the existing bilateral understanding in certain sectors, his government intends to learn from the Philippines’ tourism, agriculture and fishery industries. He also recognized the contribution of Filipino workers in his country’s nation building.
Both leaders witnessed the signing of three agreements namely, Memorandum of Understanding on Policy Consultations between DFA and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; Memorandum of Understanding between DPWH and Ministry of Public Works; and Memorandum of Understanding on Teacher Training between Philippine Normal University and Ministry of Education.
Prime Minister Gusmão is in a four-day visit in the Philippines as part of his Southeast Asian countries tour. He previously visited Thailand in April and Singapore in May.
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