Dili, Thursday 17 November 2011 – Hon Ingrid Fiskaa, Deputy Minister for International Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway made a courtesy call yesterday to H.E. Emilia Pires, Minister of Finance of the Government of Timor-Leste. Deputy Minister Fiskaa was accompanied by H.E. Eivind Homme, Norwegian Ambassador to Jakarta; Ms. Marianne Damhaug, Minister Counselor, Embassy of Norway in Jakarta; Mr. Hanne Brusletto, Director, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Mette Kottmann, Senior Advisor, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and, Mr. Odd Raustein, Project Coordinator.
The courtesy call was also attended by H.E. Jose Luis Guterres, Vice Prime Minister of the Government of Timor-Leste, H.E. Joao Cancio Freitas, Minister of Education, H.E. Joao Goncalves, Minister of Economy and Development, Hon. Rui Manuel Hanjam, Vice Minister of Finance, and Hon. Alfredo Pires, Secretary of State for Natural Resources.
The courtesy call was immediately followed by a lunch hosted by the Minister of Finance.
Over lunch, the issue of the continuation of Norwegian support to Timor-Leste was discussed, including the upcoming 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to be held in Busan, South Korea at the end of this month and the invitation of NORAD for the Minister of Finance to address its annual Conference on ‘Aid and Conflict’ which will take place in Oslo, Norway on 12 December 2011.
The work currently being done by the g7+ and the importance of having the fragile states come together as one group was also touched during the lunch-meeting. MoF emphasized the need for donors’ support to be aligned with priorities of the fragile states. The Timor-Leste officials reiterated the need to make donors understand each country’s system and have better coordination among donors in giving the Aid.
Timor-Leste also shared the current thrust of the Government to promote full transparency in its systems and operation. They cited the use of the Budget Transparency portal and how this is contributing to the ongoing budget discussions.
Some programmatic issues were also discussed during the meeting including MoF’s request to Norway to support the existing adviser posted at the taxation Directorate. On the environment side, the Minister of Economy and Development stated that it still lacked the desired human resources in this field, and requested the Norwegian Government to continue their support in this area. On a similar note, the Minister of Education shared the MoU agreement forged with the Norwegian Government to send Timor-Leste students to study in Norway for their Masteral and/or PhD degrees.
The Government of Norway has supported Timor-Leste in the areas of Natural Resources, Finance and Environment. In responding to the expressed needs of Timor-Leste, Deputy Minister Fiskaa informed that Norway recently reformed their government, and therefore, they will need to do further discussions on the continuation of the assistance to Timor-Leste. Wit regards the g7+ Forum, the Government of Norway thinks that the g7+ is an interesting concept. She informed the Minister of Finance that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway will take part in the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea and expressed its support to the g7+ initiative in the future.