Thailand to support East Timor's membership of ASEAN, 13 January 2009

BANGKOK, Jan. 13 (PNA/VNA) - Thailand will support East Timor's application for membership of the regional grouping ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) by 2012, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has said.

Prime Minister Abhisit was quoted by The Nation as discussing the issue on Jan. 12 with East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta, on a three-day official visit from Jan. 11.

As chairman of the group, Thailand also extended an invitation to East Timor to be a guest of the ASEAN ministerial meeting and ASEAN regional forum in the middle of this year.

The two leaders presided over a signing ceremony for a Memorandum of Understanding on energy development between Thailand's petroleum group of PTT and East Timor's Natural Resource Ministry on Jan. 11.

Accordingly, PTT will provide assistance to East Timor on technology and management skills to help it set up its own national petroleum company.

Thailand will also provide assistance to East Timor's agricultural sector to help improve living standards and sustain development, Prime Minister Abhisit was quoted as saying. (PNA/VNA)