Timor Leste ‘ready anytime’ to join ASEAN
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
A WORKING group is in the final stages of assessing Timor Leste’s readiness to join ASEAN, said an official recently.
Southeast Asia’s youngest nation is “ready at any time” to join the 10-member bloc after establishing missions in all ASEAN states this year, said Erminio da Silva Pinto, charge d’affaires at the Timor Leste embassy in Brunei Darussalam.
“This is one requirement to become a member of ASEAN and we opened our last three missions in Brunei, Cambodia and Myanmar to complete all 10 this year,” he told The Brunei Times.
A Working Group of the ASEAN Coordinating Council has been to Dili several times to assess Timor Leste’s compliance with ASEAN’s political and economic pillars, and will make one last visit in the next two months to review compliance to the cultural pillar.
“Timor Leste is ready to join ASEAN… We have fulfilled all the requirements set out by ASEAN, so for us, sooner is better than later but the date of our joining depends on the consensus among ASEAN members,” said Pinto.
The envoy said he believed there has been “positive progress” in his country’s application for full ASEAN membership, after the country was invited to participate in several high-level ASEAN meetings as an observer.
“Last month ASEAN leaders accepted us to participate in some meetings in the context of capacity building,” Pinto said.
While ASEAN’s 10-member states have voiced support for the fledgling nation to join the bloc, some have said careful consideration must be taken so that plans for region-wide economic integration are not derailed.
In an interview with _The Brunei Times _last year, former Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao said Timor Leste will not be a burden to ASEAN and is prepared to meet the financial obligations of membership.
The Brunei Times