After the referendum on independence on 30 August 1999, East Timor became an independent nation on 20 May 2002 and began initiating diplomatic relations with the rest of the global community.
The foreign policy of East Timor has been defined by its position as a small state surrounded by two much larger powers. Rather than formally aligning with any particular state or bloc, East Timor has sought a diverse set of positive relationships. Upon independence foreign policy was shaped by José Ramos-Horta, who has previously campaigned internationally for East Timorese independence. Ramos-Horta was a proponent of Internationalism, and held sway until 2012. Following elections in 2012, leaders such as Xanana Gusmão and Taur Matan Ruak pursued a slightly more nationalistic foreign policy.
East Timor has pursued membership in a variety of multilateral forums, positioning itself as a reliable international actor. This promotion of international law is tied to the countries