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Timor Leste eyes Brunei tie-ups

Brunei Times - October 20, 2010

Sally Piri, Brunei-Muara Timor Leste is seeking opportunities to build cooperation with Brunei in oil and gas, education and eco-tourism, its first non-resident Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam said yesterday.

In an exclusive interview with The Brunei Times, Roberto Sarmento de Oliveira Soares said Timor Leste is looking to collaborate with Brunei in the oil and gas.

Brunei will send potential investors to visit Timor Leste and look into possible business opportunities immediately, he said. He did not divulge other details of these business opportunities.

The ambassador, who is based in Singapore, will also conduct meetings with senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MoFat) and the Energy Division at the Prime Minister's Office today.

Soares said Timor Leste is keen to learn from Brunei's experiences in oil and gas exploration.

Timor Leste has a joint petroleum development agreement with Australia, with an annual revenue of US$15 million.

Soares said Timor Leste and Brunei have enjoyed close relations since 2001, when the former was preparing to declare its independence. "Brunei has been a reliable friend to Timor Leste," he said.

Soares also requested Brunei's help to renovate Masjid An-Nur, the oldest and historical mosque in its capital Dili. With a total population of 1.2 million, Timor Leste has more than 8,000 Muslims living in the country. The ambassador said that when he communicated this request to His Majesty, the monarch said he would follow up the matter with the MoFat and Ministry of Religious Affairs.

"I believe that we will immediately see our cooperation turn into concrete actions," the ambassador said.

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