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His Majesty on state visit to Timor-Leste

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 on Monday arrived in Dili, Timor-Leste for a state visit.

On arrival at Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport, His Majesty was greeted by Timor-Leste President Dr José Ramos-Horta; Timor-Leste Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão; Timor-Leste Vice Prime Minister and Minister Coordinator for Economic Affairs and Minister of Tourism and Environment as minister-in-attendance Francisco Kalbuadi Lay; Timor-Leste Vice Prime Minister and Minister Coordinator for Rural Development and Community Housing Mariano Sabino; Timor-Leste Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Dr Bendito dos Santos Freitas; and Ambassador of Timor-Leste to Brunei Darussalam Abel Guterres.

Also present was Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to Timor-Leste Wan Hadfi Lutfan bin Haji Abdul Latif.

STATE WELCOMING CEREMONY

His Majesty first attended the state welcoming ceremony, where His Majesty, along with Dr José Ramos-Horta, proceeded to the special dais to receive the salute of honour accompanied by the national anthems of both countries, and a 21-gun salute.

Shortly after, His Majesty boarded a special vehicle, accompanied by the president, to inspect of the guard of honour mounted by members of the defence force of Timor-Leste and Timor-Leste national police.

FLAG-HOISTING CEREMONY

His Majesty then attended a flag-hoisting ceremony with the Timor-Leste president.

The ceremony began with the hoisting of Timor-Leste’s national flag, followed with a minute of silence in honour of the fallen heroes who had fought for the independence of the country.

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 with Timor-Leste President Dr José Ramos-Horta at the Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport, Timor-Leste. His Majesty departed the country on Monday. PHOTO: INFOFOTO
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 inspects the guard of honour mounted by members of the defence force of Timor-Leste and Timor-Leste national police. PHOTO: INFOFOTO
His Majesty during the conferment of the Grand Collar of the Order of Timor-Leste. PHOTO: INFOFOTO
His Majesty and Timor-Leste President Dr José Ramos-Horta during a bilateral meeting. PHOTO: INFOFOTO
ABOVE & BELOW: 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 delivers a titah during a state luncheon; and His Majesty with Timor-Leste Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão. PHOTO: INFOFOTO
PHOTO: INFOFOTO
His Majesty waves prior to departing Timor-Leste. PHOTO: INFOFOTO

GRAND COLLAR OF THE ORDER OF TIMOR-LESTE MEDAL AWARD CEREMONY

After the flag-hoisting ceremony, His Majesty proceeded to the Grand Collar of the Order of Timor-Leste Medal Award ceremony.

The president conferred the Grand Collar of the Order of Timor-Leste to His Majesty, in recognition of His Majesty’s contributions and dedications. The medal is the highest honour awarded by Timor-Leste, exclusively bestowed to heads of states, to recognise significant contributions to national peace and stability including, among others, exceptional military service, acts of heroism and cultural merit.

This was followed with a titah, in which His Majesty expressed gratitude for the conferment of the Grand Collar of the Order of Timor-Leste during the monarch’s inaugural state visit to the country. His Majesty said it is an immense honour to receive the prestigious accolade, adding it reflects the high regard as well as the amiable and harmonious bond between the people of Brunei Darussalam and Timor-Leste over the past two decades.

Furthermore, the president’s state visit to Brunei Darussalam last year further reinforced the personal friendship and cooperation, between the two countries, benefitting both sides mutually.

His Majesty concluded the titah by reiterating the deepest appreciation to the president for conferring the award and to further enhancing and fortifying the warm bilateral relations across all levels in the years ahead.

TETE-A-TETE MEETING WITH TIMOR-LESTE PRESIDENT

Following the medal award ceremony, His Majesty attended a tete-a-tete meeting with the Timor-Leste president, during which both leaders discussed bilateral matters of mutual importance to Brunei Darussalam and Timor-Leste, as well as exchanged views on regional and international matters.

BILATERAL MEETING WITH TIMOR-LESTE PRESIDENT

His Majesty later attended a bilateral meeting with the Timor-Leste president, in which His Majesty in a titah emphasised that Brunei Darussalam and Timor-Leste continue to cooperate closely in education and people-to-people exchanges.

During the state visit of the Timor-Leste president to Brunei Darussalam, both sides agreed, among others, to further strengthen cooperation in education, labour and health, which is essential for the two countries’ continued development, peace and security.

As oil-producing countries, Brunei and Timor-Leste remain vulnerable to global uncertainties and major power competition. In this regard, His Majesty highlighted the need for the two countries to continue working together to safeguard common interests and therefore welcomes Timor-Leste’s interest in strengthening energy cooperation to build its national capacities.

His Majesty also expressed pleasure over the two countries’ joint commitment to enhancing people-to-people exchanges, especially through the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the employment/recruitment of Timor-Leste workers to Brunei Darussalam signed during the state visit of Dr José Ramos-Horta to Brunei Darussalam.

A visa waiver arrangement was also signed during the visit.

Moreover, this will pave the way for solid and enduring cooperation between the two countries for years to come.

Touching on regional issues, His Majesty reiterated that Brunei Darussalam has always welcomed Timor-Leste into the ASEAN family and noted the positive developments towards its full membership.

To this end, Brunei Darussalam looks forward to continue working closely with Timor-Leste in implementing the roadmap for Timor-Leste’s membership in ASEAN and its annexes, including the ASEAN Junior Fellowship Programme.

On Myanmar, Brunei Darussalam will also continue to support ASEAN’s efforts to find lasting solutions based on the five-point consensus, which is Myanmar-led and Myanmar-owned.

Meanwhile on developments in the South China Sea, His Majesty stated the South China Sea must remain peaceful, particularly as a third of global maritime trade passes through these waterways. Brunei Darussalam is engaging closely with other ASEAN member states and China to ensure peace and stability in the region.

His Majesty, in ending the titah, stated that fundamentally, all parties must abide by the international law, especially the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as the overarching international agreement that governs the world’s oceans and seas.

STATE LUNCHEON

Following the meeting, His Majesty attended a state luncheon hosted by the Timor-Leste president, in which His Majesty delivered a titah expressing pleasure to be in Timor-Leste, particularly in joining the president and the people of Timor-Leste to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of Timor-Leste’s Independence Restoration Day.

Throughout the years, Timor-Leste navigated the path towards post-conflict nation-building through various policies to create a solid and prosperous nation for Timorese.

In addition, Timor-Leste’s accession to the World Trade Organization early this year was not just a significant milestone, but a testament to the country’s resilience and determination.
On this occasion, His Majesty congratulated the president on the remarkable achievements.

His Majesty also expressed honour upon the conferment of the Grand Collar of the Order of Timor-Leste, as the prestigious award symbolises the deep friendship between both nations, and underlined Brunei Darussalam’s commitment to further developing these enduring relations.

Brunei Darussalam values the friendship with Timor-Leste and looks forward to working together to protect and safeguard both countries’ common interests, the monarch added.
In this regard, His Majesty expressed pleasure that the two countries are further strengthening ties through a visa waiver arrangement, which will not only make it easier for officials of both countries to travel but also pave the way for enhanced cooperation.

Beyond bilateral ties, Timor-Leste has made significant progress in becoming an ASEAN member. To this end, His Majesty said the Sultanate’s commitment remains unwavering and reiterated Brunei Darussalam steadfast support in this endeavour.

In concluding the titah, His Majesty congratulated the president on the independence day celebrations and wished the president and the people of Timor-Leste continued progress and prosperity.

BILATERAL MEETING WITH TIMOR-LESTE PRIME MINISTER; EXCHANGE OF AGREEMENT

Next, His Majesty attended a bilateral meeting with Timor-Leste Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão at the Government Palace.

During the bilateral meeting, His Majesty in a titah shared that the Timor-Leste prime minister is an old friend of Brunei, having worked together on several occasions in his previous capacities in the government.

His Majesty also expressed happiness to have welcomed the prime minister on his first visit to Brunei in 2000 as the president of the National Council of Timorese Resistance.

Over the years, cooperation between Brunei Darussalam and Timor-Leste has progressed, thus His Majesty looks forward to strengthening the goodwill and friendship between the two countries and the people.

Furthermore, both countries have enjoyed warm and friendly cooperation since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2002. His Majesty added that the two countries have worked closely in education and people-to-people exchanges over the past two decades, and in 2023, both sides further enhanced education cooperation through the Brunei Government scholarships for two Timor-Leste students to pursue their studies in the Sultanate.

His Majesty further expressed pleasure that a private company in Brunei will sponsor two Timorese citizens to come to Brunei Darussalam.

On energy, His Majesty welcomed Timor-Leste’s interest in developing these ties and noted that Timor Gap, a state-owned oil and gas company, had productive discussions during their visit to Brunei Darussalam early this year.

In addition, the mutual commitment from both sides under the MoU on the employment/recruitment of Timor- Leste workers to Brunei Darussalam will open new opportunities for Timorese, and in this regard, His Majesty looks forward to welcoming Timorese to Brunei Darussalam.

His Majesty also expressed happiness with the mutual commitment to the visa waiver arrangement during the visit, which will make it easier for officials to travel and strengthen cooperation between both countries.

Brunei Darussalam also values Timor-Leste’s continued support for Palestine in all relevant United Nations (UN) Resolutions, including the recent UN membership vote. However, Brunei remains concerned with the occupying power’s military operation in Rafah, including seizing control of the Rafah border crossing.

Thus, His Majesty urged all parties to cease all forms of violence and to exercise utmost restraint immediately, and called on the international community to work together to achieve a permanent ceasefire and urgent, unhindered entry of humanitarian aid. In this regard, His Majesty reaffirmed Brunei Darussalam’s full support for the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination and the two-state solution, towards an independent and sovereign State of Palestine, based on pre-1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as the capital.

The two leaders had fruitful exchanges on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern. The leaders also, among others, agreed to explore cooperation in the areas of higher education and science, health, petroleum and mineral resources as well as economic and investment.

Shortly after, His Majesty along with the Timor-Leste prime minister witnessed the exchange of the agreement on visa exemption for holders of diplomatic and official or service passports between His Majesty’s Government with the Government of Timor-Leste.

Signing on behalf of His Majesty’s Government was Minister of Home Affairs Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ahmaddin bin Haji Abdul Rahman while the Government of Timor-Leste was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Dr Bendito dos Santos Freitas.

DEPARTURE FROM DILI

Following the events of the state visit, His Majesty left Timor-Leste.

Prior to departure, a Doa Selamat was recited by State Mufti Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned.

Present at the Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport to bid farewell to His Majesty were Timor-Leste’s President Dr José Ramos-Horta, Vice Prime Minister and Minister Coordinator for Economic Affairs and Minister of Tourism and Environment as minister-in-attendance Francisco Kalbuadi Lay, Vice Prime Minister and Minister Coordinator for Rural Development and Community Housing Mariano Sabino, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Dr Bendito dos Santos Freitas as well as Ambassador of Timor-Leste to Brunei Darussalam Abel Guterres.

Also present was Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to Timor-Leste Wan Hadfi Lutfan.

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