TL – USA have the same principles in terms of democracy, human rights, and good governance
Dili, March 25, 2021 – His Excellency the Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak, welcomed for the first time, an audience, this Thursday, at the Government Palace, the new Ambassador of the United States in Timor-Leste, C. Kevin Blackstone. The Ambassador, who presented the credential letters to the President of the Republic last March 19th, officially assumed his position as Ambassador of the United States to Timor-Leste, replacing his predecessor, Kathleen M. Fitzpatrick.
The Chief Executive welcomed Ambassador Blackstone and congratulated him on his appointment as the new U.S. Ambassador to Timor-Leste. Ambassador Kevin Blackstone expressed his gratitude and expressed his satisfaction and pride in being able to represent the United States in Timor-Leste. The Ambassador stressed that, before coming to Timor-Leste, he studied a little about the liberation struggle of Timor-Leste, and said that he deeply admires the history of our country, and in particular admires the discipline, spirit of sacrifice, and vision of the current Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak.
Meanwhile, during the hearing, the Head of Government and the U.S. Ambassador shared their thoughts on bilateral cooperation between the two countries, today and for the future. Given that the Ambassador is new to Timor-Leste, the Head of Government also took the opportunity to share a little about the political and economic situation of the country in recent years, the priorities of the Government, and the COVID-19 pandemic situation, so that the Ambassador can keep abreast of this information.
After the hearing with the Head of Government, Ambassador Blackstone explained to the press that the meeting with the Head of Government went very well, and took the opportunity to announce that the new USAID program for the next five years will have an amount of 93 million U.S. dollars, considering that Timor-Leste and the United States have the same principles in terms of commitment to democracy, human rights, and good governance.
“The meeting with the Prime Minister was extraordinary. I was able to hear the Prime Minister’s priorities so that the United States can cooperate in the best way with Timor-Leste, responding to the priorities presented by him. In fact, this morning I also had the opportunity to unveil, first-hand, USAID’s new strategic program for the next five years, with a total value of US$ 93 million. This new program will work closely with relevant Ministries to support the Government’s economic development priorities and will focus especially on women, young people, and vulnerable groups,” Ambassador Blackstone said.
The Ambassador also explained that the U.S. Government is also providing health care between 2020 and 2022, and has already provided US$ 6 million in assistance to support Timor-Leste in its health care system and infrastructure, including a specific item for the fight against COVID-19, with a total budget of US$ 1.6 million.
Finally, Ambassador Blackstone explained that he intends, during his term of office, to quickly complete the procedures and documents for the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Timor-Leste for the rehabilitation of Baucau airport, in accordance with the request of the Government of Timor-Leste in 2018, and whose request has already been approved at a meeting of the UU Defence Services, in Hawaii.
Under this agreement, the assistance of US$ 10 million is provided, which will be used to finance the rehabilitation of the airport runway, protective walls, and firefighter vehicles building, and will also include a Cessna light aircraft, which will serve to support the Timor-Leste’ Government in controlling its maritime space. The Ambassador added that this support has no other purpose, and also said that this support aims to synchronize with the support of Australia, which will offer two patrol boats to Timor-Leste. END/M-PMO