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Timor-Leste announces intention to join UNESCO

Timor-Leste announces intention to join UNESCO

Timor-Leste today announced that it intends to join the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

"UNESCO has long been a reference to peace-loving peoples throughout the world. Accordingly, the time has come for Timor-Leste to become a Member State of UNESCO in our overall process of integration into the international community," President Xanana Gusmão wrote in a letter to the chief of the Organization, Koïchiro Matsuura, who welcomed the announcement.

"I look forward to the imminent arrival of Timor-Leste and to working closely with this, our newest Member State," he said. "I am particularly heartened to see that Timor-Leste has taken the decision to join our Organization as part of becoming a full participant in the international community, so soon after acceding to independence.

Mr. Matsuura also recalled the intention of the United States to return to the Organization, which currently has 188 members, after pulling out of the Paris-based agency in the 1980s. "We are just one step away from universal membership and I look forward to the day when Singapore, the only United Nations Member State which is not in UNESCO, will announce its return," he said.

Now that Timor-Leste, formerly East Timor, has decided to join UNESCO, it only needs to sign the Organization's Constitution in the archives of the Foreign Office in London, where it is deposited. It must also deposit a declaration of acceptance of the Constitution to take its place as a Member State.