Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao said he expected East Timor to gain full membership in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during Indonesia`s presidency in 2011.
“It would be a cause for great satisfaction to all Timorese if our official request to join ASEAN is accepted during Indonesia`s presidency in 2011,” he told participants of the third Bali Democracy Forum here Thursday.
Speaking before heads of delegates and observers from 71 countries attending the two-day forum taking place at Westin Hotel`s Nusantara ballroom, Gusmao said East Timor`s admission would help it contribute to regional security and stability.
“More than providing economic benefits, membership of ASEAN represents for Timor-Leste an opportunity to be an active agent in the promotion of regional peace and stability,” he said.
East Timor`s admission during Indonesia`s leadership would not only be a “great symbolism” but would also provide “profound meaning” for East Timor, Indonesia, and ASEAN member states as a whole, he said.