The Portuguese Government congratulates the People and Government of the Democratic Republic of East Timor on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Referendum on 30 August 1999. The Referendum was an essential step towards the self-determination of East Timor, paving the way for the independence and the establishment of the new State of the Democratic Republic of East Timor.

The Referendum in East Timor was an historic moment to the promotion of the principle of self-determination of the People, democracy and human rights in the international community. It was a highly important moment in the history for the United Nations and the culmination of a prolonged and painful path made of great sacrifices by the Timorese people. When walking this path, East Timor could always count on the perseverance of the Portuguese diplomacy and the unconditional solidarity of the Portuguese people, particularly during the most difficult times.

It is due to all these reasons that Portugal celebrates this date with sincere joy. The Portuguese Government reaffirms its desire to continue to strengthen the strong ties of friendship and cooperation between both countries and its people. Portugal will continue to work together with East Timor towards the development and prosperity of this country, consolidating the fundamental bases of freedom and independence that were achieved through great efforts.

Lisbon, 29 August 2019

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