We have coined a phrase, which we think describes the U.S - Timor-Leste relationship.We call it a ‘permanent partnership.’ We both share values and interests around the world. We collaborate on human rights and democracy in other countries–ways that Timor-Leste has consistently tried to make its contribution on the world stage.What are some of the priorities you have established as Ambassador for Timor-Leste that you hope will strengthen bilateral relations?
The first and foremost is working together with the government to help sustain the peace and security Timor-Leste needs to progress. We believe that a healthy, well-educated population with rising incomes and hopes for a better future for their children builds the kind of environment that will meet all of America’s needs and interests.How have you seen this region change over the last several years?
I first came to Timor-Leste in 1990 when it was still part of Indonesia. I think the biggest change is that of an independent Timor-Leste.What do you think are some of the major challenges facing Timor-Leste with respect to its regional integration? Are you optimistic about Timor-Leste’s entry into ASEAN?
Timor-Leste has already made its decision that it wants to be part of Southeast Asia. It wants to integrate into ASEAN. The challenge for Timor-Leste is to work through its membership application with ASEAN. We are not a member of ASEAN, and we don’t have vote on the matter; but, we do think that a natural progression for Timor-Leste is to join the group.What should Americans know about Timor-Leste?
In a world where many countries seem to be going in the wrong direction, you can take Timor-Leste as one of the lessons on how you arrest the instability. As every month goes by, it’s another month of success and stability.