The president of Timor Leste called on regional leaders to fasttrack acceptance to Southeast Asia’s largest political and economic body during a three-day visit to Cambodia.
President Jose Manuel Ramos-Horta’s request was the island nation’s latest bid to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, where the country’s application has languished for more than a decade over concerns about political and economic stability.
No country had waited longer than Timor Leste, Ramos-Horta said.
The nation applied to ASEAN, as the 10-member bloc is known, in 2011, with an eye toward its market of 660 million customers and a combined $3.6 billion GDP.
Cambodia is this year’s rotating ASEAN chair. Prime Minister Hun Sen has long pushed for Timor Leste’s inclusion.