Timor-Leste to become a member of UNESCOParis - The President of Timor-Leste, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, has announced his country's intention to become a member of UNESCO in a letter to the Organization's Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura.
President Xanana Gusmão said in his letter: "UNESCO has long been a reference to peace-loving peoples throughout the world. Accordingly, the time has come for Timor-Leste to become a Member State of UNESCO in our overall process of integration into the international community."
Mr Matsuura welcomed the announcement: "I look forward to the imminent arrival of Timor-Leste and to working closely with this, our newest Member State. I am particularly heartened to see that Timor-Leste has taken the decision to join our Organization as part of becoming a full participant in the international community, so soon after acceding to independence. I also welcome the fact that with Timor-Leste joining our Organization, and with the return of the United States, we are just one step away from universal membership and I look forward to the day when Singapore, the only United Nations Member State which is not in UNESCO, will announce its return."
Now that Timor-Leste has decided to join UNESCO, it only needs to sign the Organization's Constitution in the archives of the Foreign Office in London, where it is deposited. It must also deposit a declaration of acceptance of the Constitution, to take its place as a Member State. Timor-Leste joined the United Nations on September 27, 2002. UNESCO currently has 188 Member States. That number will rise to 190 when the U.S. and Timor-Leste complete the membership procedure, while the United Nations number a total of 191 Member States.