Timor-Leste should obtain ASEAN observer status this year

28 August 2015

Timor-Leste (East Timor) should obtain observer status in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) before the end of the year, said the country’s Economic Affairs Coordinator and Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Estanislau da Silva.

The most recent country in the Southeast Asia region presented its official membership application to ASEAN in 2011. The only country that has shown reservations is Singapore, which from the start indicated it should only take place in 2015.

Da Silva told Lusa news agency that for the time being the country should only be granted observer status, expected to occur at the November summit in Malaysia, the country holding the organisation’s rotating presidency. He made his comments during a three-day visit to Indonesia headed by Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araújo.

The country “still has a lot to do to meet the criteria demanded” by ASEAN and has taken part in the association’s meetings as a “special guest”, he added.

Shahriman Lockman, an analyst from Malaysia’s Institute of Strategic and International Studies, told the news agency in January that the founding countries had learned a lesson from the membership of Myanmar, whose problems “became problems for ASEAN”.

ASEAN was founded on 8 August 1967 and currently counts 10 member states. Its main aims are to promote economic growth and stability in the region. (Macauhub/TL)