Premium Timor-Leste hopes to sign a new cooperation program with Portugal soon.

The Timorese Minister for Foreign Affairs told Lusa on Monday that he hopes that Portugal's new Strategic Cooperation Program (PEC) could be signed "soon" with East Timor, which is now in Lisbon to be analyzed.

"We have been discussing this issue for some time now and we are now basically in the final stage of the process agreeing on this cooperation program", Dionísio Babo explained.

"Our final proposal was sent to Portugal to be analysed". We await its return so that we can submit it to the Council of Ministers for a resolution", he said.

In October, during a visit to Díli, the Portuguese State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Teresa Ribeiro told Lusa that the next PEC with East-Timor should exceed 42 million euros and will continue to focus predominantly on the education sector.

"We are making a major investment in education in Timor-Leste. It is a priority for Timor-Leste, it is a choice of Timor-Leste and Portugal has responded to that choice", he said at the time.

The new PEC for the period between 2019 and 2022, which is being negotiated between the two countries, will replace the one that ended at the end of 2017 and which was extended to this year due to the political standoff in East-Timor, where early elections were held last year.

Teresa Ribeiro explained to Lusa that what ended in 2018 was initially valued at 42 million euros, with the execution rate being 134% (about 56.28 million euros), in part due to its extension in 2018.

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