|Subject: AFP: Asian foreign ministers
welcome East Timor to top security forum
Asian foreign ministers welcome East Timor to top security forum Published : 2005-07-30
VIENTIANE (AFP) - Asian foreign ministers on Friday welcomed tiny East Timor as the 25th member of the region’s main security forum.
The country’s foreign minister, Nobel peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta, joined his colleagues at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which groups the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations with partners including the European Union, United States, China, Japan, Australia and Russia.
Ministers took turns to welcome their “good friend” and said they were looking forward to a partnership with the nation of about one million people.
East Timor became independent as one of Asia’s poorest countries in May, 2002 after a period of UN stewardship following a 1999 referendum to split from Indonesia.
Its giant neighbour invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975 to begin years of repressive rule.
The United Nations says at least 1,400 people were killed during militia violence organized by the Indonesian security forces ahead of and after the referendum.
ARF was established in 1994 to foster dialogue and consultation on political and security issues while aiming to develop confidence-building and preventive diplomacy. In addition to the 10 members of ASEAN Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysian, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam the ARF groups Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, the United States, and now East Timor.
Indonesia welcomes East Timor to East Asia Summit
VIENTIANE (DPA): Indonesia welcomed news that East Timor - once part of the Indonesian archipelago - wants to sign Southeast Asia's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC), a prerequisite for joining a new regional forum.
"We are familiar with Timor Leste's (East Timor's) intent in acceding to the TAC, and we would welcome it," Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa said at a press conference in Vientiane at the annual meeting of foreign ministers of theAssociation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
New Zealand and Mongolia are also to become parties to the treaty Thursday in the Lao capital, allowing them as well to join the East Asia Summit (EAC), a forum that will be launched in December after the next ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur.
East Timor, which won its independence from Indonesia after a referendum in 1999, sparking a bloody rampage by pro-Jakarta militias, has yet to join ASEAN. It said it does not have sufficient funds to attend the myriad ASEAN meetings.
Marty, while stressing that Indonesia would "love to have Timor Leste" in the TAC, noted that its membership might pose a legal problem.
"Geographically, Timor Leste is part of Southeast Asia, being the eastern part of the island of Timor, but the problem arises in the TAC, Article 18, which innumerates the countries of Southeast Asia and does not name Timor Leste," Marty said.
He noted that such an obstacle could be overcome by amending the treaty.
ASEAN currently consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. (**)
12th ARF meeting agrees on regional security cooperation
The 12th meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) ended Friday in Vietiane with a consensus on strengthening security cooperation in Asia-Pacific region.
The meeting, part of the 38th ASEAN ministerial meetings held here from July 25, was attended by the foreign ministers or government representatives of all 25 ARF participating countries.
A chairman's statement, read out at a press conference at the end of the meeting, said the participants held comprehensive discussion on issues of common concern and stressed the need for the ARF to focus its deliberations on regional issues, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as international issues with regional impact.
The ministers recognized that the challenges facing the Asia- Pacific region were becoming more complex and interrelated and required greater regional cooperation.
They exchanged views on the tsunami disaster of December 26, 2004 and the follow-up actions taken by the concerned countries and the international community. The ministers underscored the need for regional co-operation and co-ordination in disaster reduction.
On recent developments on the Korean Peninsula, the ARF meeting welcomed the reopening of Six-Party Talks and expressed hope that the talks would lead to a substantial progress in finding a peaceful solution acceptable to all concerned parties toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsular.
The participants encouraged the inter-Korea dialogue, hoping that the on-going momentum of the inter-Korean relations will be conducive to the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and to the peaceful achievement of the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
On the issue of South China Sea, they welcomed the progress made by ASEAN and China in the implementation of Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. They also emphasized the importance of confidence building and the need to explore ways and means for cooperative activities in the region.
They welcomed the full reassertion of the sovereignty of Iraq and emphasized the need to ensure substantive materialization of this sovereign status. They also reiterated the central role of the UN in the process of political transition, reconstruction and economic development as well as the establishment of rule of law and public order in the country.
Welcoming the general election in Palestine and the resumption of direct dialogue between Israel and Palestine, the ministers look forward to a final, just and comprehensive settlement with the realization of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace within secured and recognized borders.
On anti-terrorism the ministers strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks in London and in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
Determined to fight terrorism of all type, irrespective of its origins, motivations or objectives, the participants stressed that terrorism is a threat to all peoples and countries, and to the common interest in ensuring peace, stability, security and economic prosperity in the region and beyond.
They urged to address the root causes of terrorism and avoiding the identification of terrorism with any particular religion or ethnic group or nationality.
In addition to ASEAN members Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, ARF groups Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Russia, the Republic of Korea and the United States.
East Timor was admitted as ARF's 25th member on Friday.