EAST TIMOR FUTURE CANDIDATE FOR MELANESIAN

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Foreign Minister Da Costa says the country will consider idea

By Elenoa Baselala SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 31, 2011) - East Timor could be part of the Melanesian Spearhead Group in the future.

Foreign Affairs minister Zacarias Albano Da Costa said his country was "closer" to the MSG and thus its intention to be part of the five nation bloc.

"We are grateful for the invitation to attend the meeting and participate as observers," Mr. Da Costa said. "And we are happy to be part of it."

Da Costa said the people of East Timor were "slaves" before independence and would enjoy their 10 years of independence first before they make a move on becoming part of the MSG.

He said he had been able to discuss at length with other foreign ministers, issues that were of importance to the region.

"We share common values and we will strengthen our solidarity," Da Costa said. "We spoke on labour mobility and sharing skills and having an integrated market."

The people of East Timor, he said, have a special place for the MSG as these were the countries that were part of the UN missions in the rebuilding of the country.

"East Timor was completely devastated and it was your police and military officers that came in to help us rebuild."

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