Media Statement

24 April 2012

South Africa congratulates Timor-Leste on its recent presidential elections

As the lead country on Timor-Leste (commonly known as East Timor) in the UN Security Council, the South African Government extends its sincere congratulations to the Government and the people of Timor-Leste following the recent Presidential Elections on 17 March, as well as the run-off vote on 16 April 2012, which were described by observers covering the elections as generally free and fair.

Election results released on 17 April 2012 show that Mr Jose Maria Vasconcelos, also known as Taur Matan Ruak, received 61% of the vote, followed by Franscisco Guterres at 38%. The Supreme Court of Appeals will follow its due processes and consider its own internal processes before it announces the official results.

South Africa and Timor-Leste have solid relations, characterised by high-level visits between the two countries, including the participation of the then Deputy President Jacob Zuma in the independence celebrations in Dili in 2002; the participation of the then President of Timor-Leste, HE Mr Xanana Gusmao at the celebration of the 10th Anniversary of South Africa’s Freedom Day in 2004; and his courtesy call on Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe in May 2009 during a transit visit through South Africa in his capacity as Prime Minister. In August 2009, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane hosted her Timor-Leste counterpart, Minister Zacarias da Costa, on an Official Visit to South Africa.

South Africa reaffirms its commitment to work with Timor-Leste and looks forward to the strengthening of bilateral, political and social relations between the two countries, particularly in the field of assistance in capacity and institution building.

For further information, please contact Mr. Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, on +2782 884 5974

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Co-operation

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