24 March 2016

Thousands Protest in East Timor over Maritime Boundary with Australia

DILI, Timor Leste – Thousands of people gathered outside the Australian embassy in Dili urging negotiations to settle the maritime boundary between Timor Leste and Australia, ABC news reported on Wednesday.

According to the Dili Weekly newspaper, Tuesday’s march drew about 10,000 people and was the first of a two-day protest over the boundary.

The protest organizers claimed the border was unfair and that Timor Leste had lost AU$6.6 billion ($5 billion) in oil and gas revenues to Australia.

The demonstration was scheduled to mark Australia’s decision to pull out of the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS.

Timor Leste Prime Minister Rui Araujo had earlier this year sought talks with Australian premier Malcolm Turnbull on resolving the boundary, which Turnbull turned down.

However, Australia’s federal opposition has pledged it would restart negotiations with Dili over the sea border if it were elected.