Political and economic contacts between the two countries are modest in scope. Swiss development cooperation funds individual projects. In addition, Switzerland dispatched election observers for the parliamentary elections of 2007 and 2012.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–East Timor
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
The two countries mainly cooperate on development projects. After the bloody clashes in 1999, the Confederation provided support to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Swiss Hirondelle Foundation's radio station for refugees. In addition, CHF 50,000 are also made available every year for occasional small-scale development cooperation projects.
Switzerland provided two observers to the election observation missions of the European Union (EU) for the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007 and one observer for the elections in 2012.
Cooperation in the domain of education
Scholars and artists from East Timor can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Swiss nationals in East Timor
At the end of 2012, there were three Swiss nationals living in East Timor.
History of bilateral relations
In 1975, after 450 years of colonial rule by Portugal and a brief civil war, East Timor was annexed by Indonesia shortly after it declared its independence. In 1999, after much violence and bloodshed, the country came under interim UN administration. Switzerland provided extensive support for the victims and made a financial contribution to the UN peacekeeping forces.
Formal diplomatic relations were established in 2002 on the occasion of the 57th UN General Assembly in New York, when Federal Councillor Joseph Deiss and the then Foreign Minister José Ramos-Horta signed a joint communiqué.