U.S. Ambassador Blackstone’s Remarks on USAID Development Objectives Agreement (DOAG) Signing Ceremony

His Excellency Dr. Rui Augusto Gomes, Minister of Finance; His Excellency Former President Jose Ramos Horta; His Excellency Minister Fidelis Manuel Leite Magalhães, His Excellency Minister Pedro Dos Reis, distinguished members of the Government of Timor-Leste; U.S. Mission Timor-Leste colleagues; honored guests and friends.  Good morning.

I am happy to be here with you today to participate in the signing of our Development Objectives Agreement with the Government of Timor-Leste. The United States remains committed to our partners, allies, and friends around the world and today’s signing represents our strong relationship with and commitment to Timor-Leste.

Funding under this agreement will enable USAID programs to continue in agriculture, tourism, democracy and governance, customs, and health.  We will collaborate to strengthen Timor-Leste’s non-oil sector through economic diversification and reinforcing good governance. Today, we make available $17.9 million as the first installment of an expected budget totaling $92.3 million to finance USAID’s activities through 2025.

This agreement showcases the strong partnership between Timor-Leste and the United States as we work together to reach shared goals of economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic and a more diversified and inclusive Timorese economy.  Through new USAID programs, we will build on two decades of collaboration to help the private sector and civil society thrive.  We look forward to great results that will benefit everyone.

The American people, through USAID and other U.S Government agencies, have been working with the people of Timor-Leste since well before the country regained its independence in 2002. As the U.S. Ambassador, I am proud to be a part of America’s longstanding, positive, and mutually beneficial relationship with Timor-Leste. These include programs from the U.S. Department of Defense that develop the capacity and interoperability of Timorese security forces, the U.S. Navy Seabee’s infrastructure projects, the Peace Corps volunteers who work with Timorese across the country on education and economic development, Embassy youth programs such as YSEALI, educational scholarships and a variety of exchange programs, as well as the many training workshops that my U.S. Mission team arranges to support everything from the justice sector to journalism.

On behalf of the United States, I salute the people of Timor-Leste for the remarkable success you have achieved over the past two decades. I look forward, with you all, to partnership for greater growth, good governance, and prosperity for all in Timor-Leste.

Thank you