The recent agreement on the maritime boundary between Timor–Leste and Australia marks a new chapter in the bilateral relationship. It will revitalise our friendship and cooperation in the years ahead. It will also provide a new foundation for the development of the Greater Sunrise gas field in the Timor Sea, and the sharing of any resulting revenue. This will support the national interests of both nations.
The agreement is a testament to the way in which international law, in particular the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, reinforces stability and allows countries to resolve disputes peacefully without resorting to force or coercion. It is an example of the rules-based order in action.
Timor–Leste has made significant progress since independence in 2002. However, it still faces development challenges and high rates of poverty and malnutrition. We are Timor–Leste’s leading economic partner, and will continue to support its objective of economic diversification and private sector growth through our development cooperation and labour mobility schemes.
We will continue to support Timor–Leste’s armed forces and national police. We cooperate on regional security issues, including maritime challenges, border security and transnational crime.
We both have important relationships with Indonesia. This provides an opportunity to deepen trilateral cooperation to advance shared interests. Australia supports Timor–Leste’s ambition to join ASEAN, to facilitate its closer economic engagement with Southeast Asia.