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Timor Leste plans to restart border talks with Australia


    Associated Press

Canberra | Mon, January 9, 2017 | 12:24 pm
Timor Leste plans to restart border talks with Australia Timor Leste people stage a peaceful rally to protest against Australia, accused of illegally occupying the country’s maritime territory in the Timor Sea, in Dili, Timor Leste, in March 2016. (Tempo/Yohanes Seo)

Timor Leste plans to negotiate a larger share of the oil and gas wealth in the seabed between the impoverished Southeast Asian nation and Australia by restarting talks on a maritime boundary.

East Timor and Australia said in a joint statement on Monday that the tiny half-island country plans to give its wealthy neighbor three months' notice that a bilateral treaty on sharing Timor Sea oil and gas will be terminated. That 2006 treaty also suspended negotiations on a maritime boundary for 50 years.

Deakin University expert on Southeast Asia Damien Kingsbury says that by reverting to a 2002 treaty, Timor Leste hopes to restart negotiations and persuade Australia to accept a boundary midway between the countries.

Australia maintains that the border should extend beyond it large continental shelf.