July 31, 2015
COMMENT: Friends of Timor Leste welcome this initiative by the Jokowi administration to push for the country’s admission into ASEAN. There are no grounds to postpone this decision and one hopes that come November 2015 ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur ASEAN leaders will welcome Timor Leste as a full and equal partner.
It is commendable that Indonesia, a former occupier of this little island nation, should take the initiative to raise the matter at the forthcoming August 2015 ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in Kuala Lumpur. This will be seen as a final reconciliation move and as formal endorsement of Timor Leste as a sovereign and independent nation state by Indonesia.
I remember being in Dili several years ago when the question of Timor Leste’s admission into the ASEAN community was the sole agenda for the forum organised by the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research Institute. At the time, Timor Leste was protected by a UN Peacekeeping Force which included a contingent from our Royal Malaysian Police.
There was consensus among forum delegates that Timor Leste’s membership in ASEAN should be a non-issue. We, however, agreed at the time that their officials should use the interim period to learn more about ASEAN processes and work on a campaign to convince their own citizens that ASEAN would be good for their country. I was impressed with these officials for their commitment to and understanding of ASEAN.
I am now glad that the opportunity has come to admit Timor Leste. I am sure that we can look forward to welcoming the people of this beautiful island nation into our community in Kuala Lumpur at the November 2015 ASEAN Summit. I thank President Jokowi Widodo, Foreign Minister Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi and officials of the Indonesian Foreign Ministry for this important initiative. Timor Leste deserves our support and encouragement. –Din Merican
ASEAN: Time Leste as 11th Member –A Welcome and Timely Move
The Indonesian delegates would raise the issue of membership of Timor Leste in ASEAN during the 48th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Kuala Lumpur early next month, an Indonesian official said in Jakarta today.
The Indonesian government would persistently attempt to include the new nation into the ASEAN membership, China’s Xinhua news agency reported MI Derry Aman, Director at the Indonesian foreign ministry, as saying.
“Indonesia will raise the issue of Timor Leste membership in ASEAN (at the meeting). It is time for the ASEAN member countries to consider the membership of Timor Leste,” he said at his office.
Indonesia is the first country giving support to the membership as the new nation is located in the Southeast Asia region, according to Aman.
“Indonesia’s commitment is clear that Timor Leste will be an ASEAN member country in the future,” he revealed.
A study on the readiness of Timor Leste on the membership has been carrying out which will determine whether the new nation will be accepted into the Asean membership, according to him.