On 1 September 2017, Australia and Timor-Leste reached an agreement on the central elements of a maritime boundary delimitation between them in the Timor Sea. The agreement was facilitated by the Conciliation Commission constituted pursuant to Annex V of UNCLOS to oversee conciliation between the two States.
The recent breakthrough follows confidential meetings between the Conciliation Commission and the two States that took place in Singapore, Washington, D.C., and Copenhagen. A final agreement between Australia and Timor-Leste is now expected to be concluded in October 2017, and will address the legal status and resource sharing of the Greater Sunrise gas field, in addition to delimiting the maritime boundary between Australia and Timor-Leste.
The agreement between Australia and Timor-Leste comes less than three weeks before the 12-month period initially allocated by the Conciliation Commission for conclusion of the conciliation process. According to the Conciliation Commission’s Decision on Australia’s Objections to Competence, the conciliation process was scheduled to continue only until 18 September 2017.
The Conciliation Commission is expected to issue a report on proceedings after the parties finalise their agreement.