During his visit to Brussels this week, Dr. José Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace prize winner and Former President of the Democratic Republic of East-Timor, said the EU was always an exceptional partner in terms of cooperation and support.
The EUs’ High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, who held a meeting with Ramos-Horta on the sidelines of the 4th Political Dialogue between the EU and East-Timor, reiterated the EU’s commitment to pursue strong political and development co-operation in the region under the Cotonou Agreement.
“The EU has always been an exceptional partner,” said Dr. Ramos-Horta. “In spite of the economic downturn in 2008, the EU did not reduce its cooperation and support for East Timor; not even during the complex and challenging times of today with the influx of refugees from Africa and the Middle East. I can say that we are grateful and pleased with the way the EU has fostered the growth and development of East Timor.”
From 1975 to 1999 East-Timor, a former Portuguese colony was invaded and occupied by Indonesia. Over the course of the 24-year invasion, one-third of the Timorese population perished.
In 1999, following the United Nations-sponsored act of self-determination, Indonesia relinquished control of the territory and in 2002 the small region proclaimed its sovereignty.
In exile for the entire occupation, José Ramos-Horta served as the exiled spokesman for the East Timorese. After East Timor achieved independence, Ramos-Horta was appointed as the country’s first foreign minister, followed by his tenure as president.