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Timor Leste and the European Union (EU) held their fifth annual Political Dialogue, under article 8 of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) - EU Partnership (Cotonou) Agreement in Dili, Timor-Leste, on 21 May 2019, co-chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Timor-Leste, H.E. Dionísio Babo Soares and the EEAS Deputy Secretary General, H.E. Ambassador Jean-Christophe Belliard.
Minister Dionísio Babo Soares stated in his opening remarks: ''The European Union is a very important development and strategic partner for the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. The relation between Timor-Leste and EU covers many areas of mutual interest and the agenda presented before us is a testimony to this relationship. I believe that Timor-Leste and EU will continue to have this good relationship and such Political Dialogue continues to help, support and strengthen our relation in the years to come.”
Mr. Jean-Cristophe Belliard said: "The EU has a long-standing relation and friendship with Timor-Leste and its people, based on a legacy of common values, cooperation, and constructive economic and trade relations. We discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest and agreed to work closely together for the benefit of both sides. "
Held in the wake of the 20th anniversary of the Popular Consultation that brought about the restoration of the independence of the country, the annual Political Dialogue provided an opportunity to review the developments on the consolidation of state institutions and EU's support to this objective. Also discussed were efforts by both sides to consolidate democracy in Timor-Leste, including through the deployment of EU electoral observation and expert missions (most recently in May 2018). With the participation of Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries, Public Works Justice, Finance and State Administration, as well as the relevant Secretaries of state, developments in the field of rural communities, justice and public finance management were discussed. Human rights in particular gender equality and actions to address gender-based violence received particular consideration.
The participants also discussed the country's sustainable and inclusive development, economic diversification as well as development cooperation with the EU and other partners. The Parties recognised the value and impact of the development cooperation activities of the European Union bilaterally and regionally. In Timor-Leste, EU's development and cooperation programmes amounted to 95 million euros over the period of 2014-2020 with targeted areas of health and nutrition, rural development (agro-forestry systems, road rehabilitation) and sustainable infrastructure.
Both parties concurred that the current negotiation to replace the existing Cotonou Development Cooperation Agreement should reflect regional and global priorities that are of interest to Timor-Leste, the EU, the Asia and the Pacific regions. These priorities include notably climate change, disaster preparedness, maritime security, sustainable management of global public goods, fisheries and oceans management, inclusive and sustainable development, as well as peace and security.
The two sides reiterated the importance of alignment in international fora with the aim to consolidate multilateralism and collaboration in regional organisations, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and including Timor-Leste’s pledge to ASEAN Membership as well as its engagement with the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).
The Cotonou Agreement offers a framework for the European Union’s cooperation for the economic, social and cultural development of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP). Centred on the target of reducing, and in the longer-term, eradicating poverty, the cooperation must also contribute to the peace and security as well as the democratic and political stability of the ACP states.
Article 8 of Cotonou Agreement provides for a regular, comprehensive, balanced and deep political dialogue leading to commitments on both sides. The objective of the political dialogue is to exchange information, to foster mutual understanding and to facilitate the establishment of agreed priorities and shared agendas, in particular by recognising links in the various areas of cooperation between the Parties as laid down in the Cotonou Agreement.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Timor-Leste:
Ms. Ralyana Rebeiro at email@example.com, Tel: +670 78333337
EU Delegation in Timor-Leste:
Mr. Alexandre Zafiriou at Alexandre.ZAFIRIOU@eeas.europa.eu, Tel: +670 78186566