SA, Timor-Leste to strengthen ties

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pretoria - International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and her Timor-Leste counterpart Dr Zacarias da Costa are expected to foster relations when they meet later today.

Dr Da Costa is on an official visit to South Africa. His visit takes place within the context of South-South cooperation with relations between the two countries dating back over decades.

According to a statement issued by the department, the bilateral meeting between the two ministers seeks to identify areas of cooperation for the benefit of both countries.

"South Africa has played a critical role in assisting with nation building and the development of democratic institutions to further strengthen democracy and good governance in East Timor," the department said.

South Africa also stands ready to assist the government of Timor-Leste with reconstruction and development of the country.

It is expected that some of the priority areas that the ministers will focus on include capacity building with emphasis on the justice system, security sector reform, infrastructure development, education and skills training.

On the multilateral level, South Africa, during its term as Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council in 2007 to 2008, was designated as the lead Nation on Timor-Leste.

It was during this time that the Timorese government invited South Africa to send observer missions to the Presidential and Parliamentary elections respectively.