16 Jan '11, 10am

Indonesia backs Timor Leste's ASEAN membership bid

MEDANA, Indonesia: Indonesia on Sunday voiced support for Timor Leste's bid to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). "ASEAN now has 10 members and we've heard that Timor Leste wishes to join and we openly support it," Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told reporters, using the country's official name. There has been no formal discussion on the membership yet "but Timor Leste has already conveyed its wish openly", he said at a retreat for the regional bloc's foreign ministers on the island of Lombok. His comments demonstrate how the relationship between Jakarta and Dili has improved in recent years. Timor Leste, a former Portuguese colony, was invaded by Indonesia in 1975 as it moved towards formal independence, starting a brutal 24-year occupation. It won its freedom in a 1999 UN-backed referendum marred by violence that left an estimated 1,400 people de...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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