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Friday, August 19, 2011: Address by Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão at the Reception for the Minister of Defence of Indonesia, Mr Purnomo Yusgiantoro


19 August 2011, Hotel Timor Dili

Your Excellency, the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Purnomo Yusgiantoro,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Your visit, distinguished Minister, particularly on a date so full of symbolism in affirming Timor-Leste as a sovereign and independent State, fills us with gratitude, and represents another important step in the strengthening bonds of friendship between our two peoples.

Wounds, that in the past may have pulled Timorese and Indonesians apart, have long been healed. Now Timor-Leste and Indonesia are, without question, friends with great respect for each other and that cooperate closely across a broad range of areas that are critical for our economic and social development.

With our strong relationship as friendly neighbors we have a shared commitment to resolving, as soon as possible, and to everyone’s satisfaction, the small technical issues that remain in regard to our common land border.

Indonesia has been our main and most active supporter in our bid to join ASEAN. We profoundly appreciate the remarkable effort and determination by Indonesian leaders, particularly President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in pushing our cause with ASEAN members so that Timor-Leste may move towards membership of this important regional body.

Dear Minister Purnomo Yuisgiantoro,

It is with great satisfaction that we all witness increasingly close bilateral cooperation in the area of Defense between Timor-Leste and Indonesia. Our Armed Forces, the successors of FALINTIL, the 36th anniversary of which we are celebrating, have merited special attention by its Indonesian counterpart, particularly in the important aspect of training.

F-FDTL officers have taken part in courses provided in prestigious military education institutions in Indonesia, including the National Defense Institute of Jakarta. Joint exercises have also taken place involving naval forces from both our countries.

In September 2009 we had the great pleasure of receiving the visit of the TNI Commander, General Djoko Susanto, and in May 2010, the Chief of the Defense Force of Timor-Leste, Major-General Taur Matan Ruak, and visiting Jakarta in a reciprocal sign of goodwill.

We are firmly committed to strengthening the ties of cooperation between the FFDTL and the TNI. As such, this very afternoon we signed a Memorandum of Understanding between our two governments regarding further Defense cooperation activities.

We want to institutionalize regular consultation and dialogue meetings concerning common interest strategic and security issues. We also want to exchange relevant Defence information, promote cooperation between the Armed Forces of both our countries and establish logistical support cooperation arrangements. We would also like to look at expanding this cooperation to other priority areas for National Security.

I am sure, Minister that we can rely on your goodwill and determination to support projects that are vital for the valorization and modernization of the Armed Forces of Timor-Leste.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Indonesia is a vital strategic partner for the political and economic interests of Timor-Leste. In addition to sharing a large sea border, we also share this island. In recognition of this we are enabling the populations on both sides of the border to live in peace and harmony, strengthened by significant family ties that have been established 4 throughout the centuries.

For us Timorese, the Indonesians are not rivals or competitors in our legitimate claims to be acknowledged by the international community as a modern and fair State. On the contrary, we see the Indonesians as brothers and sisters and we seek to maintain and to build on the bonds of friendship that bring our two peoples increasingly together.

Dear Minister, I wish you, your wife and the delegation that accompanies you a very pleasant stay in Timor-Leste. I also hope that you may return soon so that you are able to enjoy all that this Country has to offer.

Thank you very much.