KUALA LUMPUR: Timor-Leste is looking forward for further training of its officials at Malaysia’s Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR), for knowledge exchange and capacity building between the two nations.

The visiting Timor-Leste’s Vice Prime Minister Francisco Kalbuadi Lay said since 2002, Malaysia has played a crucial role in the development of Timor-Leste’s human resource capacity.

He pointed out that over 600 Timorese officials have been trained in various fields through the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) and the Malaysian Defence Cooperation Programme (MDCP).

“The support has a significant impact on Timor-Leste, as it has enhanced our officials skills and knowledge to serve their country and the people of Timor-Leste,” he said at the 48th anniversary of Timor-Leste’s National Day celebration, here Tuesday night. The country celebrates its National Day on Nov 28.

Kalbuadi Lay is in Malaysia for a four-day working visit beginning Sunday.

Expressing his gratitude to Malaysia and its people for the unwavering support extended to Timor-Leste since gaining independence in 2002, he said the two countries have a strong and amicable relationship.

Reflecting on both countries’ shared history, he recalled Malaysia’s pivotal role as one of the nations that sent its peacekeeping force to Timor-Leste during the 1999 referendum and the 2006 crisis.

“This act of solidarity echoes the deep and enduring friendship between our two nations,” he said.

Kalbuadi Lay also expressed his deep appreciation for Malaysia’s consistent support for Timor-Leste’s accession to ASEAN since it’s formal application on March 4, 2011, noting that Malaysia has been a steadfast ally in the country’s pursuit of regional collaboration and integration.

As an observer member in ASEAN, he said Timor-Leste has a great opportunity to learn from all the member states on the regional bloc’s mechanisms and works.

“By participating in all ASEAN meetings, Timor-Leste has gained valuable insight and understood ASEAN decision-making processes.

“We are looking forward to working closely with ASEAN member states and ASEAN development partners on the implementation of the roadmap, endorsed by ASEAN leaders in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, in May 2023,” he said.

He stated that Timor-Leste is committed to working closely with Malaysia to address common challenges and promote peace, as well as cultivate strong people-to-people links by promoting cultural understanding and collaboration in the regional forums.

During the Friends of Timor-Leste-Malaysia Business Networking and dinner event on Monday, Kalbuadi Lay told reporters that Timor-Leste hopes to become a full member of ASEAN when Malaysia chairs the regional bloc in 2025.

Also present at the event were Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu, Timor-Leste’s Ambassador to Malaysia Joana Veneranda Amaral and heads of foreign missions.

Mohamad and Veneranda Amaral also raised a toast to the success and prosperity of both countries.–Bernama

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