Australia and East Timor sign historic maritime border deal

From BBC - March 6, 2018

Australia and East Timor have signed a historic treaty on a permanent maritime border in the Timor Sea.

The deal ends a decade-long dispute between the neighbours over rights to the sea's rich oil and gas reserves.

East Timor, one of the world's poorest nations, will now gain the majority of any future revenue.

The countries signed the deal at the UN headquarters in New York, after negotiations in the international court of arbitration.

UN Secretary General Antnio Guterres praised the "vision and determination" of both nations in achieving the agreement.

How did conflict arise?

After East Timor, also known as Timor-Leste, gained independence from Indonesia in 2002, no permanent maritime boundary was established between Australia and the new nation.

Instead, the two sides agreed on a temporary boundary, but East Timor later argued that deal had been unfairly forced upon them.

It believed its more powerful neighbour had an unfairly large share of access to oil and gas fields that are estimated to be worth tens of billions of dollars.

In 2016, East Timor contested the arrangements in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. Mediation between the nations concluded last week.

What is in the new deal?

The landmark treaty sets out the maritime border at the midway point between the countries, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

How did each nation react?

What will happen now?


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