Sat, 25 Mar 2023

MANILA - The Philippine government on Friday reaffirmed its support for Timor Leste's full membership to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The reiteration was made during a meeting between Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and his Timor Leste counterpart Foreign Minister Adaljiza A.X.R. Magno on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' (AMM) Retreat in Jakarta, Indonesia.

"[I] met Timor Leste FM (Magno) on the sidelines of the AMM Retreat in Jakarta to discuss how we can further our bilateral relations & opportunities for cooperation under the ASEAN framework in Timor Leste's current capacity as observer," Manalo said in a tweet.

"I also reiterated (the Philippines') support for Timor Leste's eventual admission as a full-fledged member of ASEAN," he added.

The ASEAN last year granted the young nation an observer status and allowed its participation in all of its meetings, including summit plenaries.

In a November 2022 statement, the ASEAN leaders agreed "in-principle to admit Timor-Leste to be the 11th member" of the bloc.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier said Timor Leste's inclusion took some time because membership to ASEAN is a "complex issue" that has to take into consideration factors such as a country's capacity to assume ASEAN's rotating chairmanship.

"So there are logistical, personnel, financial aspects that have to be taken into consideration when one becomes a member of ASEAN," DFA spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza said in a recent presser. (PNA)

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