Subject: Thai MoU with E Timor set for signing

Also: Bangkok Post - Co-operation pact agreed

The Nation

MoU with E Timor set for signing

Published on Aug 7, 2003

Thailand and East Timor will today sign a memorandum of understanding on the Thailand-Timor Leste Technical Cooperation Plan.

The aim of the plan is to assist the newly born nation develop, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sihasak Phuangketkeow said yesterday.

Sihasak said the three-year plan covered nine areas - agriculture, healthcare, fisheries, trade, tourism, border demarcation, anti-terrorism, energy and geographical information systems.

East Timor Prime Minister Mari Bim Amude Alkatiri is this week leading a Timorese delegation on the first official working visit to the Kingdom.

East Timorese struggled to separate from Indonesia for 26 years, eventually winning their independence in may last year.

Sihasak said Thailand was ready to assist East Timor develop as the stability of the country is important to that of the Southeast Asian region as a whole.

He added that East Timor wished to be an Asean observer for the time being, before applying for membership when it feels it is ready.

The nation also wishes to become a member of the Asian Regional Forum (ARF).

However, a moratorium on new ARF members has to be lifted before the inclusion of any other countries can be considered, Sihasak said.

Rungrawee C Pinyorat

THE NATION

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Bangkok Post

REALTIONS WITH EAST TIMOR 
Co-operation pact agreed

Investors invited to enter joint ventures

Achara Ashayagachat

Visiting East Timorese Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, accompanied by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, inspects a guard of honour at the Foreign Ministry yesterday. - Sarot meksophawannakul

East Timor and Thailand will enhance cooperation in various areas including agriculture, public health, fisheries and tourism, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Sihasak Phuangketkeow.

Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri of Timor Leste and Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday acknowledged a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in nine areas that also include trade and investment, finance and banking, border demarcation, anti-terrorism and the geographical information system (GIS).

The foreign ministers of the two countries are will sign the MOU today.

Mr Alkatiri was on a four-day working visit to Thailand to enhance bilateral relations with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

Mr Thaksin reiterated Thailand's support for East Timor's nation-building as its security was also significant to Southeast Asian security, Mr Sihasak said.

The Timorese premier has asked for Thailand's help in drafting laws and regulations to attract foreign direct investment and to provide assistance in environment conservation.

He was also interested in Thailand's experiences in finance and banking reforms. He lauded the Thai government for repaying debts to the International Monetary Fund two years ahead of deadline.

East Timor has also invited Thai investors to enter joint ventures or provide technical assistance in energy development. The PTT Exploration and Production would discuss details of cooperation, Mr Sihasak said.

On regional cooperation, the Timorese prime minister reaffirmed East Timor's will to join Asean but said it had to embark on economic development first, as the country was short of manpower.


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