Singapore opens embassy in East Timor

Arief Budi
Arief Budi

Global Courant

Singapore will establish an embassy in Dili, the capital of East Timor, according to a statement from Singapore’s foreign ministry on Monday.

The embassy will serve as a focal point to expand bilateral cooperation in areas such as trade and investment, tourism, defense, energy and human resources, the statement said.

This was announced by Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and East Timor Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Bendito dos Santos Freitas at a joint press conference.

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This happened after Dr. Balakrishnan’s meeting with the President of East Timor, José-Ramos Horta, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão and Mr. Freitas on Monday morning.

The planned move to open an embassy was welcomed by the Timorese leadership.

Currently, Mr. Robin Hu is Singapore’s non-resident ambassador to East Timor. He will remain in charge before a permanent ambassador is appointed, Dr Balakrishnan said.

The location of the embassy is also being worked out, the minister added.

Singapore will be the sixth ASEAN country to open an embassy in East Timor. The other ASEAN countries with missions in Dili are Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

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During their meetings, Dr. Balakrishnan and the Timorese leaders confirmed the warm and longstanding relations between their two countries.

Dr. Balakrishnan underlined Singapore’s strong and consistent support for East Timor’s development, the MFA statement said.

“Singapore was one of the first countries to contribute to peacekeeping and nation-building in East Timor between 1999 and 2012, including more than 1,000 personnel and equipment,” it said, adding that the Singapore Police also sent officers to the country to help set up its police force.

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Singapore is also a major foreign investor in East Timor in areas such as real estate and hospitality, and Singaporeans contribute to East Timor’s healthcare and education system, the statement said.

“Minister Balakrishnan reiterated Singapore’s commitment to support capacity building in East Timor through the Singapore Cooperation Programme, which has welcomed more than 800 Timorese officials,” the statement said.

Singapore also supports East Timor’s eventual entry into ASEAN, in line with a roadmap adopted by the group’s leaders in May 2023.

To that end, Singapore will “continue to support Timor-Leste in implementing the roadmap,” the statement said.

Dr. Balakrishnan will visit Deputy Prime Minister Francisco Kalbuadi Lay and will be invited to dinner by Minister Freitas later on Monday.

Singapore opens embassy in East Timor

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