Subject: MB: RP, Timor-Leste sign 2 accords of cooperation

Also: East Timor diplomats to train in Manila

Manila Bulletin 2004/09/14

RP, Timor-Leste sign 2 accords of cooperation

By DAVID CAGAHASTIAN

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and visiting Timor-Leste Foreign Minister Jose Ramos-Horta yesterday signed two cooperation agreements aimed at enhancing economic and cultural ties between the Philippines and the newly formed Southeast Asian country.

The Philippines and Timor-Leste (East Timor) signed the "Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation" and the "Memorandum of Understanding on the Training and Development of Timor-Leste Diplomats."

The agreement on economic cooperation lays the framework for future trade and investment opportunities between the two countries as both agreed to study and prepare the implementation of joint economic and technical projects, as well as human resource development projects, of mutual interest.

Among the projects eyed for joint implementation are the conduct of short courses on food processing technology, small and medium sized enterprise development, and nontimber forest products and enterprises.

"The two agreements will provide the framework for future cooperation between the countries and will eventually lead to the improvement of the standards of living in both countries," Romulo said.

Also signed is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) indicating the Philippines’ intention to train diplomats from Timor-Leste, a newly formed country that gained independence from Indonesia in May 2002.

The MoU commits the Foreign Service Institute of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to admit Timor-Leste diplomats into the Foreign Service Officers Cadetship Programs starting 2005 with the Timor-Leste Foreign Ministry shouldering the expenses for the training of their diplomats.

Ramos-Horta thanked the Philippines for its continued support for the efforts of Timor-Leste in achieving economic and political stability.

"We look at the Philippines as an older brother who extends a hand of friendship in support to a young and struggling nation," Ramos-Horta said.

Ramos-Horta is in the country on a working visit from Sept. 14 to 16. Today he will pay courtesy calls on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Education Secretary Florencio Abad, Trade and Industry Undersecretary Tomas Aquino, Interior and Local Government Secretary Angelo Reyes and Energy Secretary Vince Perez.

ASEAN regional forum

The Philippines yesterday expressed support for the applications of Timor- Leste for observer status in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and membership in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo said the Philippines will support the application for membership of Timor- Leste in the ARF when the regional forum holds its annual ministerial meeting in Laos next year.

"The Philippine government remains open in supporting their bids for observer status in ASEAN and membership in the ARF," Romulo said in a joint press conference with visiting Timor-Leste Foreign Minister Jose Ramos- Horta.

Ramos-Horta is on a working visit to the Philippines to lobby for the Philippines’ support for Timor-Leste’s application for membership in the ARF.

"We want to join the ARF because it is becoming increasingly important in addressing security issues in the (Southeast Asian) region."

Ramos-Horta expressed optimism that with the support of the Philippines, as well as those of other ASEAN member-countries, Timor-Leste will be able to join the ARF when the regional forum tackles its application for membership.

He also cited written expressions of support from other ARF members like the United States, Australia, Papua New Guinea and Russia.

The Philippines also supported Timor-Leste’s application for observer status in the ASEAN, though Timor-Leste’s full membership into the ASEAN is expected to take time as the newly-formed country is still trying to achieve economic and political stability.

Ramos-Horta said that while Timor-Leste has expressed intentions to become a full member of ASEAN, his country still cannot afford to make international commitments like joining the ASEAN.

"We are still not prepared to join the ASEAN. It costs a lot and our economic and internal situation, and our public administration still need years to strengthen. We don’t want to burden ourselves and other ASEAN countries with our early membership." (David Cagahastian)

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East Timor diplomats to train in Manila RP teachers to teach English to East Timor peers

Updated 08:20pm (Mla time) Sept 14, 2004 By TJ Burgonio Inquirer News Service, INQ7.net

(UPDATE) STARTING next year, junior diplomats from East Timor will undergo training in foreign service officersí cadetship program at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Manila.

The training program was part of an agreement on human resources development signed between Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and East Timor Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Ramos-Horta on Tuesday.

As part of the agreement, Filipino teachers will also teach English to their East Timorese counterparts.

Ramos-Horta, 1996 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, thanked the Filipino people for their concern and assistance in the establishment of Timor-Leste (the official name of East Timor) as an independent state.

Another agreement involved the two countriesí economic and technical cooperation in areas of economic development.

Under that agreement, the Philippines, through the DFA's Technical Cooperation Council of the Philippines, will offer short-term courses on food processing technology, Print this story Send this story Write the editor View other stories

small- and medium-scale enterprise development, and non-timber forest products enterprises.

The cadetship program, which is normally given to Filipinos who passed the foreign service exams in Manila, would be modified next year to accommodate junior East Timorese diplomats, said Gilberto Asuque, foreign affairs spokesperson.

Ramos-Horta is scheduled to be feted to a dinner by Romulo.

Originally posted 6:32 P.M


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