U.S. delegation helps Timor-Leste celebrate new president, independence

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May 20 (UPI) — A U.S. presidential delegation traveled to the Southeast Asian island country of Timor-Leste to attend the inauguration of President Jose Ramos-Horta and ceremonies marking its 20th anniversary of the restoration of independence.

The delegation included Thomas Daley, charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy Timor-Leste; Paloma Adams-Allen, deputy administrator of U.S. Agency for International Development; and Curtis Reid, special assistant to the president and senior director for multilateral affairs with the National Security Council.

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The delegation attended the inauguration on Thursday and commemorated the restoration of independence on Friday at the capital of Dili. In 2002, the former East Timor gained its independence from Indonesia.

“The Timorese people have much to be proud of in their nation’s young history, ensuring remarkable levels of freedoms — of political choice, of the press, of religion — that allows democracy to flourish,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Thursday.

“Your unwavering commitment to the principle of human rights has been an important and welcome voice in the international community and within the Indo-Pacific region. We share with you the importance of this day, as it also marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of our bilateral diplomatic relations.”

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