Friendly ties between Brunei, Timor Leste expand

James Kon

During a recent reception to commemorate the 44th of Proclamation Day and 17th National Day of Democratic Republic of Timor Leste at The Empire Brunei, Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste to Brunei Darussalam Marcal Avelino Ximenes underscored the growing relationship between Brunei Darussalam and Timor Leste.

“Brunei Darussalam is a country that has demonstrated its achievement with a clear vision through effective governance and with outstanding leadership of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam,” the ambassador said. “Brunei Darussalam is a true friend of Timor Leste.”

He recalled that relations between Timor Leste and Brunei Darussalam began when President of the National Congress for Timorese Reconstructions and National Political Commission of Timor Leste Kay Rala Xanan Gusmao visited Brunei Darussalam in May 2000.

“Both leaders exchanged views on how to develop partnership and explore new areas of collaboration. Both leaders promised to work together to preserve peace, stability and security,” said the ambassador. “Both leaders were also confident the strategic cooperative partnership will expand in the future and looked forward to enhancing the bilateral and regional ties cooperation in many areas for common interest.”

The ambassador said diplomatic relations between Brunei Darussalam and Timor Leste were established in 2002.

File photo shows performers during the 44th of Proclamation Day and 17th National Day of Democratic Republic of Timor Leste celebration at The Empire Brunei
Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste to Brunei Darussalam Marcal Avelino Ximenes

In March 2014, Prime Minister of Timor Leste Kay Rala Xanan Gusmao held a second visit to Brunei Darussalam to meet His Majesty.

The Prime Minister led a 24-member delegation comprising the Minister of State and Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Minister of Education, the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and Secretary of State for the promotion of equality.

The visit sought to further develop and strengthen ties between both counties and touch on the agreement in the establishment of the Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste in Bandar Seri Begawan and the Embassy of Brunei Darussalam in Dili.

Interaction increased after both countries opened their embassies in Dili and Bandar Seri Begawan.

“Since then, several delegations have visited Bandar Seri Begawan and vice versa to search for opportunities and explore areas for basis and fields of future cooperation,” said the ambassador.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor Leste Dr Dioniso Babo Soares visited Brunei Darussalam in July 2019 and touched on the air service agreement for Royal Brunei Airlines to start operating flights between Bandar Seri Begawan and Dili.

Speaking on education, the ambassador said Brunei Darussalam has provided scholarships for post graduate level studying at Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) and continued offering scholarships to East Timorese children to further their study in Brunei Darussalam.

Speaking on health, the ambassador said, “Many patients from Timor Leste have chosen to come for treatment in several hospitals in Brunei Darussalam and I hope there will be an increase in the number of patients who choose to go to Brunei Darussalam for treating non-communicable diseases like heart attack, high blood, diabetes and others.”

The ambassador also conveyed his gratitude to His Majesty for inviting the U21 Football team of Timor Leste to the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy competition 2018 where Timor Leste came out as champions for the first time.

On ASEAN, the ambassador said, “In 2011, East Timor submitted an official letter to the Headquarters of ASEAN with the intention to become the 11th member. We believe that being part of the ASEAN community is our destiny as a nation.

“Our intention to become a member of ASEAN is not to be a burden but we will contribute actively and positively to this regional organisation to achieve peace, stability, economic, social and cultural development in the region,” he added.