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His Majesty’s State Visit to Timor-Leste: Highlights

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 arrived in Dili on Monday morning for a State Visit to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.

Upon arrival at Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport, His Majesty was greeted by President of Timor-Leste Dr José Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister of Timor-Leste Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão.

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 greeted by President of Timor-Leste Dr José Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister of Timor-Leste Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão upon arrival at Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport. PHOTOS: INFOFOTO
His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam with President of Timor-Leste Dr José Ramos-Horta.

Colorful State Welcoming Ceremony

His Majesty attended the State Welcoming Ceremony, where His Majesty along with President 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 twenty-one (21) gun salute. Shortly after, His Majesty accompanied by the President inspected the Guard of Honour mounted by members of the Defence Force of Timor-Leste and Timor-Leste National Police.

His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam; President of Timor-Leste Dr José Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister of Timor-Leste Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão arriving at the State Welcoming Ceremony.
His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam accompanied by the President inspecting the Guard of Honour mounted by members of the Defence Force of Timor-Leste and Timor-Leste National Police.

At a Flag-Raising Ceremony, His Majesty and the President saw the raising of Timor-Leste’s national flag, followed with a minute of silence in honour of fallen heroes who had fought for the independence of the country.  

His Majesty conferred Grand Collar of the Order of Timor-Leste

The President of Timor-Leste 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.

His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam conferred the Grand Collar of the Order of Timor-Leste by President of Timor-Leste Dr José Ramos-Horta.

In a titah, His Majesty expressed gratitude for the conferment, and stated that it was an immense honour to receive the prestigious accolade, adding that it reflects the high regard as well as the amiable and harmonious bond between the people of Brunei Darussalam and the Democratic Republic of 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 added.

His Majesty reiterated his deepest appreciation to the President for conferring the award and looked forward to further enhancing and fortifying the warm bilateral relations across all levels in the years ahead.

Commitment to elevating both countries’ ties through new MoUs, agreements

His Majesty also attended a Tete-a-Tete Meeting with the President of Timor-Leste, in 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.

During a bilateral meeting, His Majesty in a titah emphasised that Brunei Darussalam and Timor-Leste continue to cooperate closely in education and people-to-people exchanges. In addition, during the State Visit of President Dr. José Ramos-Horta to Brunei Darussalam, both sides have also agreed, among other things, 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 both 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 The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam during the Bilateral Meeting with President of Timor-Leste Dr José Ramos-Horta.

His Majesty also expressed pleasure with the two countries’ joint commitment to enhancing people-to-people exchanges, especially through the Memorandum of Understanding on the Employment/Recruitment of Timor-Leste Workers to Brunei Darussalam that was signed during the State Visit of President Dr. José Ramos-Horta to Brunei Darussalam and the Visa Waiver Arrangement signed during this 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.

His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam following the Bilateral Meeting with President of Timor-Leste Dr José Ramos-Horta.

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 that 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 also stated that fundamentally, all parties must abide by 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.

Following the meeting, His Majesty attended a State Luncheon hosted by the President of Timor-Leste, in which His Majesty delivered a titah expressing pleasure to be in Timor-Leste, particularly in joining President Dr. José Ramos-Horta and the people of Timor-Leste to celebrate the 22nd Anniversary of Timor-Leste’s Independence Restoration Day.

His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam delivering the titah at the State Luncheon, as President of Timor-Leste Dr José Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister of Timor-Leste Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão look on.

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 is not just a significant milestone, but a testament to the country’s resilience and determination. On this occasion, His Majesty congratulated the President on all these remarkable achievements. His Majesty also expressed honour upon the conferment of the “Grand Collar of the Order of Timor-Leste”, as this prestigious award symbolises the deep friendship between both nations.

His Majesty also expressed Brunei Darussalam’s commitment to further developing these enduring relations. Furthermore, Brunei Darussalam values the friendship with Timor-Leste and looks forward to working together to protect and safeguard both countries’ common interests. In this regard, His Majesty expressed pleasure that both countries are further strengthening ties through the 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 emphasised that Brunei Darussalam’s commitment remains unwavering and furthermore, reiterated Brunei Darussalam steadfast support in this endeavour. In concluding the titah, His Majesty congratulated the President on Independence Day celebrations and wished him and the people of Timor-Leste continued progress and prosperity

His Majesty attended a Bilateral Meeting with Prime Minister of Timor-Leste Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, at the Government Palace.

His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam with Prime Minister of Timor-Leste Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão during the Bilateral Meeting. 

During the Bilateral Meeting, His Majesty in a titah shared that Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão is an old friend of Brunei, having worked together on several occasions in his previous capacities in 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 people. Furthermore, both countries have enjoyed warm and friendly cooperation since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2002.

His Majesty added that both 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 Brunei Darussalam.

His Majesty further expressed pleasure that a private sector from Brunei Darussalam 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 Memorandum of Understanding (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 this visit.

Brunei Darussalam also values Timor-Leste’s continued support for Palestine in all relevant 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.

Both 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 economy and investment.

Shortly after, His Majesty along with the Prime Minister witnessed the Exchange of the Agreement on Visa Exemption for Holders of Diplomatic and Official or Service Passports between the Government of His Majesty with the Government of Timor-Leste. Signing on behalf of the Government of His Majesty was Minister of Home Affairs Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ahmaddin bin Haji Abdul Rahman, while the Government of Timor-Leste was represented by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Dr. Bendito dos Santos Freitas.

His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam with Prime Minister of Timor-Leste Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão witnessing the Exchange of the Agreement on Visa Exemption for Holders of Diplomatic and Official or Service Passports between the Government of His Majesty with the Government of Timor-Leste. 
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