President congratulates new Timor Leste leader

President  Francisco Guterres  was sworn into office over the weekend.
President Francisco Guterres was sworn into office over the weekend. PHOTO: EPA

President Tony Tan Keng Yam has congratulated his Timor Leste counterpart, Mr Francisco Guterres, who was sworn into office over the weekend, underscoring the warm ties between the two countries that predates Timor Leste's independence.

Mr Guterres, 62, a former guerilla fighter, beat seven other candidates to win the presidential election in March with 57 per cent of the vote.

Congratulating him last Saturday, Dr Tan wrote: "Your decisive victory reflects the confidence the people of Timor Leste have placed in you.

"Timor Leste has made significant strides in its development since independence. I am confident that Timor Leste will continue to prosper under your leadership."

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A former Portuguese colony once occupied by Indonesia, Timor Leste gained independence in 2002.

"The bilateral relations between our two countries are warm and strengthening, marked by growing exchanges at the political and officials' levels in recent years," said Dr Tan in his letter, released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday.

He added that Singapore would continue to support Timor Leste's capacity-building through the Singapore Cooperation Programme, a platform for Singapore to share its experience and expertise.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2017, with the headline 'President congratulates new Timor Leste leader'. Print Edition | Subscribe