MIL OSI-C. Mediterranean Region: Portugal
Portugal and Timor-Leste signed the Strategic Cooperation Program for 2019-2023 at a ceremony held in Lisbon in the presence of Portuguese Foreign Affairs Ministers Augusto Santos Silva and Timor-Leste Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Dionísio Babo Soares . The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Teresa Ribeiro, signed the program by the Portuguese State.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal stressed the importance of signing the 2019-2023 Strategic Cooperation Program between the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and the Portuguese Republic, stating that “it is a five-year program with a financial envelope an indicative figure of € 70 million, a significant increase over the previous co-operation program with a financial envelope of € 42 million ‘.
Timor-Leste’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Dionisio Babo Soares, said that “this cooperation program is a strengthening of relations between the two countries that are based on important historical and cultural affinities, sharing a language and matrices of justice and has evolved from the restoration of independence in a dynamic way, pursuing the priorities of Timor-Leste “.
Minister Babo Soares said that “Timor-Leste has enjoyed positive results in the context of cooperation with Portugal, especially in the areas of education, justice and governance”, adding that “we are on the right track, and signing today’s document strengthens the ties and we hope that in the future our cooperation will cover new areas’.
Santos Silva said that “cooperation between our two countries has been continuous and has also been very clear on the priority areas”, which are basically two: Education and Governance.
The Portuguese Minister said that “the great area of cooperation is the area of education and education with a natural emphasis on training in Portuguese”.
Portugal currently has 140 Portuguese teachers in Timor-Leste participating in the great project of the Centers for Learning and School Education existing in all 13 Timorese municipalities and covering approximately 6 500 East Timorese students. These are schools of reference for the great Timorese school network and it is a pleasure to collaborate in the modernization and consolidation of the Timor-Leste school system, “he said.
Santos Silva highlighted “the Foco project involving Portuguese Cooperation and the National University of Timor-Leste, which supports Portuguese-language training in university courses and has global funding of around 2.6 million euros.”
He emphasized “the activity of the Portuguese School Ruy Cinatti, which has 63 teachers and more than a thousand students and which, besides being a school, is also a training center that has benefited officials of the Timorese Public Administration.”
The Minister said that Portugal had “the concern that cooperation should respond to the needs of Timor-Leste, that it be designed in such a way as to enhance Timor-Leste’s resources and to have the best results possible”, adding that “this is the logic that presides over the teaching of the Portuguese language for specific audiences “, referring to” the military personnel of the Armed Forces of Timor-Leste who have had an excellent result “.
The second major area is “governance and the rule of law, which is especially important because it touches on the nuclear aspects of the sovereignty of countries,” Santos Silva said.
Portugal has’ the pleasure of having elements of the Portuguese security forces and services working in Timor-Leste with their Timorese counterparts, of having Portuguese judicial magistrates naturally carrying out support functions, and of having Timorese military personnel attending courses in Portugal ‘.
The cooperation between Portugal and Timor-Leste “is also close as Portugal, as a member of the European Union, manages several cooperation programs of the European Union with Timor-Leste” and the country, being Portuguese-speaking, “benefits, together with the other Portuguese-speaking countries, of the European Union’s program addressed to these countries and managed by Portuguese Cooperation ‘.
Referendum of 1999
The Minister also said that “it is with great joy that Portugal welcomes in this year 2019 the twentieth anniversary of the holding of the referendum that clearly expressed to the whole world and the undisputed will of the people of Timor-Leste in their independence.”
Santos Silva also stated that, in the meeting that preceded the signing of the program, the two delegations made “the situation of the bilateral relationship, which is so intense and so friendly, and also the situation of the participation of our two States in the organizations multilateral organizations to which we both belong ‘.
The Strategic Cooperation Program with Timor-Leste belongs to a new generation of Cooperation Programs, which aims, among other things, to strengthen the focus on priority sectors and to harmonize with interventions of other actors of cooperation.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure be perfect.