The President of Portugal, Mr. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, addressed the Parliament of Timor-Leste today, on the 20th anniversary of the Restoration of Timor-Leste’s independence.
Addressing President Ramos-Horta, President de Sousa said that it was an honor to be able to address the Parliament, and the Timorese people, on the first day of Ramos-Horta’s mandate. In the eyes of the international community, he said, Ramos-Horta has already earned his place in history for his past actions. But, he said, it gave him joy that “the Timorese people wanted to make history again.”
The President praised the dedication of the Members of Parliament and the Timorese people to the nation’s Constitution, saying that the world learned from the Timorese people how the collective will of a nation could have expression within a political framework that respects international law and the rules of peaceful coexistence between States.
“And,” he said, “the world learned from the Timorese people to heal their wounds and turn the page of history in the name of an ideal of peace, solidarity, cohesion, fraternity, dialogue, commitment, believing in the future deserved by all.”
President de Sousa said that neither the Portuguese or the Timorese miss the years of struggle for the restoration independence for Timor-Leste, which was for the Portuguese and Timorese a common and painful struggle. But in the 20 years since, the two countries have strengthened their friendship, and look forward to the future.
By consensus of the Portuguese people, he said, Portugal has worked to strengthen education, cultural, legal, financial and diplomatic ties between their nations. Portugal has defined and mobilized projects in education, language, health, and military administrative cooperation in Timor-Leste, and has helped to build a regional architecture aimed at mitigating conflict, creating employment for young people, attracting investment and international affirmation of Timorese democracy.
He spoke of his hopes and plans for expanding Portugal’s assistance, including wit international multilateral bodies.
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