His Excellency José Ramos-Horta, President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, received a ceremonial welcome at the Istana this morning and met President Halimah Yacob. He also met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who hosted him to an official lunch. Earlier in the morning, President Ramos-Horta had a new orchid hybrid, the Dendrobium José Ramos-Horta, named in his honour. To commemorate the 20thanniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Timor-Leste, President Ramos-Horta planted a Diospyros ferreatree native to the region at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. 

During the meetings, both sides affirmed the warm and longstanding relations between Singapore and Timor-Leste, which date back to before Timor-Leste’s independence. President Halimah and Prime Minister Lee welcomed the first-ever State Visit from Timor-Leste by President Ramos-Horta. They reaffirmed Singapore’s commitment to support Timor-Leste’s development through capacity building programmes, and welcomed more Timorese officials to participate in the Singapore Cooperation Programme. Prime Minister Lee reaffirmed Singapore’s in-principle support for Timor-Leste’s ASEAN membership and Singapore’s commitment to work constructively with other ASEAN Member States on an objective criteria-based Roadmap for Timor-Leste’s ASEAN membership.

To support Timor-Leste in building its capacity to prepare for ASEAN membership, Singapore will launch a special “Singapore-Timor-Leste ASEAN Readiness Support” (STARS) package. The STARS package will comprise courses for more than 300 Timor-Leste officials in two priority areas, namely ASEAN knowledge and skills training, as well as education capacity building.

President Halimah will host a State Banquet for President Ramos-Horta this evening.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore