Flags of ASEAN member countries and Timor-Leste flying at one of the venues of the 42nd ASEAN Summit in the Golo Mori Convention Center, Labuan Bajo on Monday (May 8, 2023). (ANTARA/Shofi Ayudiana)

LABUAN BAJO, NTT -- Indonesia is ready to support the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste in its efforts to gain full membership in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

At a press conference in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, on Monday, ASEAN Cooperation Director of the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry (MFA) Sidharto Suryodipuro stated that Timor-Leste still needed to go through several stages to gain full membership.

Suryodipuro affirmed that the stages include several agreements or treaties under the political, security, economic, and socio-cultural pillars.

However, he stated that Indonesia was ready to support Timor-Leste to complete all the stages by inviting its state officials to learn in Indonesia.

"This year, Indonesia plans to help Timor-Leste by inviting 30 state officials to take part in various ministries in Indonesia, which will organize (meetings about) its chairmanship (of ASEAN)," he remarked.

He elaborated further, saying that the 30 Timor-Leste state officials, including from its MFA, will take part in internship programs at the Indonesian MFA as well as other ministries.

"We hope that this support will facilitate their efforts and help them to better comprehend various obligations found in (ASEAN) agreements," he noted.

Related news: Indonesia readies road map for Timor Leste's full ASEAN membership

Earlier, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in November last year, the Southeast Asian leaders had agreed, in principle, to accept Timor-Leste as the 11th member of the bloc.

Following in time, delegations from Timor-Leste have been welcomed to observe various ASEAN meetings, including the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Retreat in February this year.

Furthermore, the ASEAN foreign ministers formed a dedicated working group under the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) to formulate a road map for the full membership of Timor-Leste.

Timor-Leste's full membership is one of the topics that will be discussed during the 42nd ASEAN Summit.

Under Indonesia's chairmanship, various meetings, including the summit, are expected to strengthen the ASEAN capacity and produce several documents, such as the Chair Statement and ASEAN Post-2025 Vision. (Antara)