Timor-Leste's Minister of Foreign Affairs to Participate in East-West Center Discussion Panel

Media Contact:
Derek Ferrar
Media Relations Specialist
East-West Center
[email protected]

HONOLULU (April 30) -- Zacarias Albano da Costa, Foreign Affairs Minister of Timor-Leste (East Timor), will participate in a free public panel discussion at the East-West Center on the morning of Monday, May 5, along with U.S. Ambassador to Timor-Leste Hans G. Klemm, and Constâncio C. Pinto, acting Chargé d'Affaires of Timor-Leste’s embassy in the U.S.

The panel, titled “Timor-Leste: Building a Nation and a Place in the Region,” will cover current events and future prospects in the country, which has been prominent in recent world news with the nearly successful February assassination attempt on President José Ramos-Horta and the recent surrender of the rebels responsible for the attack. East-West Center President Charles E. Morrison will moderate the discussion.

The discussion panel will be held Monday, May 5, 8:00 - 9:30 a.m., in the Koi room of the East-West Center’s Imin Center - Jefferson Hall (across from UH Manoa’s Kennedy Theatre). Admission is free. Parking will be available for $3 on the grass area between Lincoln Hall and Imin Center. For more information, call 944-7111 or email [email protected] .

About Timor-Leste
One of the world's youngest nations, Timor-Leste is a society struggling to recover from hundreds of years of Portuguese colonial neglect, internal conflict following the Portuguese withdrawal, 25 years of Indonesian occupation, and the devastation of its modest infrastructure by paramilitary forces loyal to Indonesia following the country's vote for independence in 1999.

Timor-Leste was internationally recognized as an independent democratic state in May 2002. In spring 2006, internal conflict divided the country, and has left thousands of its citizens in camps for internally displaced persons. The country’s president, Nobel peace laureate José Ramos-Horta, narrowly survived a harrowing assassination attempt in February, and has now returned to Timor-Leste after two months of recovery in Australia. Earlier this week, the leader of the army rebels responsible for the attack, Gastao Salsinha, surrendered to police along with 11 of his men.

Foreign military and police forces remain in Timor-Leste to maintain law and order since the civil unrest began two years ago, and the country continues to be under a state of emergency. How is the country addressing its internal and external challenges? What is the state of its bilateral relations with the United States and with neighboring countries in the region? What are the prospects for Timor-Leste in the next ten years? These questions and more will be addressed in the May 5 panel.


The EAST-WEST CENTER is an education and research organization established by the U.S. Congress in 1960 to strengthen relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific, and the United States. The Center contributes to a peaceful, prosperous and just Asia Pacific community by serving as a vigorous hub for cooperative research, education and dialogue on critical issues of common concern to the Asia Pacific region and the United States. Funding for the Center comes from the U.S. government, with additional support provided by private agencies, individuals, foundations, corporations, and the governments of the region.