Press Release: Prime Minister and U.S. Ambassador Hold Ground-breaking Ceremony at Baucau Airfield

Prime Minister and U.S. Ambassador Hold Ground-breaking Ceremony at Baucau Airfield


July 12, 2021 

For more information, contact Mr. Rosario Maia, Media Specialist, U.S. Embassy, Dili, Timor-Leste Tel: +670 332 4684, 77908209

Baucau, July 12, 2021 – H.E. Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak and U.S. Ambassador Kevin Blackstone held a ground-breaking ceremony today in Baucau Municipality to mark the official start of the joint rehabilitation of Baucau Airfield.

The ground-breaking took place two weeks after the June 28 signing of two Memoranda of Understanding between the Government of Timor-Leste and the U.S. Government signifying a joint commitment to rehabilitate elements of the airfield, along with the intent to engage in good faith discussions on potential support to the civil aviation sector in Timor-Leste. The rehabilitation project is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, and aimed at enhancing the capacity of the F-FDTL in the areas of security, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response. Beginning in October of this year, a joint team of engineers from the F-FDTL and U.S. militáry will conduct small-scale infrastructure upgrades at the airfield, including the repair of a perimeter security fence and construction of an equipment warehouse to be used by the F-FDTL for operations and maintenance of its Air Component.

Ambassador Blackstone noted the significance of the ground-breaking, highlighting the close security cooperation and economic ties between the two countries.

“Today’s ground-breaking represents the United States’ strong commitment to support the people and Government of Timor-Leste to promote its security and economic development,” said U.S. Ambassador Kevin Blackstone. “The joint rehabilitation of Baucau Airfield will have a significant impact on the F-FDTL’s ability to monitor Timor-Leste’s territorial waters, respond to natural disasters, and has great potential to expand economic opportunities throughout Timor-Leste.  We are proud to partner with the Government on this important project and look forward to further collaboration.”

 H.E. Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak and Ambassador Blackstone were joined by Chief of Defense Lieutenant General Lere Anan Timur and other dignitaries.