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Australia and Timor-Leste settle boundary dispute

The long-running dispute between Australia and Timor-Leste (East Timor) over the position of the maritime boundary between the two has finally been resolved.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague revealed that through a series of confidential meetings with the Conciliation Commission in Copenhagen, Timor-Leste and Australia reached an agreement on the central elements of a maritime boundary delimitation between them in the Timor Sea.

The dispute is centred around the Greater Sunrise gas field, located on the disputed border 450 km North West of Darwin, with an estimated $40 billion of oil and gas deposits.

A statement released by the Permanent Court of Arbitration read: “The Parties’ agreement constitutes a package, and, in addition to boundaries, addresses the legal status of the Greater Sunrise gas field, the establishment of a Special Regime for Greater Sunrise, a pathway to the development of the resource, and sharing of the resulting revenue.”

Both Governments have hailed the deal as a breakthrough for the two nations, leading to better relationships and development opportunities.

“This is a landmark day in the relationship between Timor-Leste and Australia,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop.

“This agreement, which supports the national interest of both our nations, further strengthens the long-standing and deep ties between our Governments and our people.”

Australia and Timor-Leste will continue to meet with the Conciliation Commission in order to finalise their agreement in October 2017, while also beginning to engage with other stakeholders in the Timor Sea regarding the implications of their agreement, particularly with the Greater Sunrise resource.

The agreement has been welcomed by Woodside Energy, who owns the Greater Sunrise resource.