East Timor seeks Australian support for border negotiations
(30 November 2015)
East Timor’s development minister, Xanana Gusmao, has turned to the Australian public for support in East Timor’s ongoing maritime border dispute with Australia. According to Gusmao, “If we go to the media and if we raise awareness, it is not because we want people to be against Australia but just to say 'oh yes, it is unfair'.”
The dispute involves the maritime border between Australia and East Timor, which was the subject of a treaty signed in 2002, shortly after East Timor became independent. Currently, East Timor shares revenue from oil and gas exploration in the disputed areas with Australia. The maritime boundary was the subject of a case brought before the International Court of Justice, but East Timor dropped the case in June 2015 in favour of international arbitration. Among the oil and gas developments at stake are the Golden Sunrise field which could contain an estimated 5.1 trillion cubic feet of gas and 226 million barrels of condensate.
Gusmao hopes that appealing to Australian activists, former peacekeepers, and other members of the public concerned about East Timor will persuade reluctant Australia to negotiate. “They wouldn't want to blow up all of these issues. We are neighbours, we have problems, we sit down, we talk — but nothing.”
East Timor appealing for Australian public's support in border dispute, minister says, 17 November 2015, ABC News, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-17/east-timor-appeals-to-australian-public-in-border-dispute/6949604