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09 - East Timor soon to join ASEAN

   

Timor Leste or East Timor will have no problem joining the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to officials of the 12th ASEAN Summit.

In a press conference at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) here this afternoon, Summit Spokesman Ambassador Vic Lecaros said that as the youngest nation in the region, "it is just a matter of time" before East Timor would become a full-fledged member of ASEAN.

Lecaros said the attendance of East Timor Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta means that "ASEAN is good enough to join in."

He said that since East Timor shares the same characteristics as the rest of the members of ASEAN, the former Portuguese colony would "not be an odd man out among us."

Lecaros said East Timor, through Prime Minister Horta, would first sign the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit, which is the first step toward joining ASEAN.

He said the other five nations that joined ASEAN went through the same process.

Brunei Darussalam joined the ASEAN on Jan. 8, l984, Vietnam on July 28, 1995, Laos and Myanmar on July 23, 1997, and Cambodia on April 30, l999. (PNA)

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