SINGAPORE - Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Mohamad Maliki Osman on Friday (May 20) attended the inauguration ceremony of Timor-Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta and celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the country's independence in Dili.
Dr Maliki called on President Ramos-Horta, Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak, and Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Armindo Maia. Timor-Leste's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Adaljiza Magno hosted Dr Maliki to lunch.
Dr Maliki also conveyed a congratulatory letter from President Halimah Yacob to Mr Ramos-Horta in which she congratulated her Timor-Leste counterpart and his country on the anniversary of its independence.
In her letter, Madam Halimah said Timor-Leste has witnessed "remarkable progress over the past two decades", and she expressed confidence that the country would continue to prosper under the leadership of Mr Ramos-Horta.
This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Timor-Leste, Madam Halimah noted.
"Bilateral ties between our two countries have grown over the past 20 years, underpinned by our shared perspectives as small states," she said.
"Singapore remains committed to support the development journey of Timor-Leste. I am confident that the friendship between our countries will continue to strengthen in the years ahead and bring about mutual benefit for our peoples," she added.
Timor-Leste is South-east Asia's youngest country. The former Portuguese colony became independent from Indonesia in 2002.
Timor-Leste shares a border, and half the island it sits on, with Indonesia. It has a population of 1.3 million people and has grappled with diversifying its economy and reducing high rates of poverty.
President Ramos-Horta has said he wants to push for his country to join Asean to eventually become its 11th member.