18 Aug 2003

East Timor unsure about seeling Forum membership

4:23 pm on 18 August 2003

The Prime Minister of East Timor, Mari Alkatari, says his country is yet to make up its minds about whether to seek full membership of the Pacific Islands Forum.

East Timor, along with New Caledonia, has observer status at the Forum, but is still considering whether it will pursue stronger links with the Forum or join ASEAN.

"We are in the middle of two different blocks and unfortunately we can't be members of both and now our policy is a step by step approach. We are seeking to be observers to both first now we are observers for this Forum but still we are seeking to be observers to ASEAN, too."