The leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed on Friday in principle to admit Timor-Leste as the 11th ASEAN member, according to an ASEAN leaders' statement.
The statement was issued while the leaders are gathering in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, for the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits and Related Summits.
Considering the outcomes of the Fact-Finding Missions to Timor-Leste conducted by the ASEAN Political-Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, the leaders agreed "in-principle to admit Timor-Leste to be the 11th member of ASEAN," the statement said.
It added that the leaders agreed to grant an observer status to Timor-Leste and allow its participation in all ASEAN meetings including at the summit plenaries.
They also agreed to formalize an objective criteria-based roadmap for Timor-Leste's full membership. All ASEAN member states and external partners shall fully support Timor-Leste to achieve the milestones through the provision of capacity building assistance and any other necessary and relevant support for its full membership in ASEAN, the statement said.
Founded in 1967, ASEAN currently groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.