For Immediate Publication
APF’S NOC HANDS OVER STATEMENT TO THE GOVERNMENT OF TIMOR-LESTE
Dili, Timor-Leste – 30-07-2016, National Organizing Committee (NOC) of ASEAN Peoples’ Forum has officially handed over a statement of ASEAN’s civil society to the Government of Timor-Leste. It contains support for Timor-Leste’s inclusion of ASEAN and a fair settlement of the country’s maritime boundary issue, as well as other issues of the region.
“We embark first in a show of solidarity by organizing the ACSC/APF 2016 in Timor-Leste, to reiterate civil society’s support for the inclusion of Timor-Leste as a full member of ASEAN. The delay in including Timor-Leste as a full member of ASEAN is no longer justified as they have progressively fulfilled all the necessary requirements,” the statement reveals.
A key challenge experienced by Timor-Leste revolves around its maritime boundaries and exploitation of its natural resources. We renew our solidarity with the peoples of Timor-Leste in their unfinished struggle to achieve full sovereignty and to be able to exercise their right to self-determination, it says.
During the ceremony of handing over the statement on Friday (29/7), Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Roberto Soares thanked NOC of Timor-Leste for the preparations, which it has made so far for the upcoming regional conference and the handing over of the statement.
APF’s Co-Chair of Timor-Leste, Fernando “Ato” Costa said during the handing over ceremony, he explained about the process of drafting the referred statement to the deputy minister.
“This statement was drafted by APF’s drafting team in consultation with CSO from ASEAN states via online. And it was then presented to the Regional Steering Committee to take it into consideration,” Ato Costa said.
The ACSC statement was directly handed over by APF Co-Chair of Timor-Leste, Mr. Ato Costa, APF Co-Chair of Malaysia, Gerald Joseph and Alternate Co-Chair of Timor-Leste, Alzira Reis.
The August Forum will be the largest ever staged in Dili with more than 800 people scheduled to attend .400 of the participants are coming from ASEAN states.
ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN Peoples’ Forum (ACSC/APF) marks a new history in this region by holding it in Timor Leste. The ACSC/APF 2016 will not take place in Lao PDR, due to concerns over possible restrictions and limited freedom of expression on key issues of concerns of ASEAN which are inconsistent with the agreed ACSC/APF’s modality of engagement.
Timor-Leste, a country in Southeast Asia, since its independence, has repeatedly put in its motion to be included in ASEAN. Although ASEAN has not taken any position to ratify the membership of this newly independent country, after a long and thorough process of consideration, we ASEAN Civil Society organizations agreed to organize the ACSC/APF 2016 in Timor-Leste as our show of solidarity.
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