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A protester holds a poster during a rally outside the Australian Embassy, Jakarta, Indonesia, March 24, 2016 (AP photo by Dita Alangkara).

Why Australia and East Timor Are Struggling to Strike a Maritime Boundary

Friday, Dec. 15, 2017

Despite announcing a breakthrough in their protracted negotiations over a maritime boundary in August, Australia and East Timor have yet to finalize an agreement that would allow them to move forward on the joint development of an important natural gas field. The delay is in part due to the difficulties of conducting a trilateral negotiation involving the two governments as well as private interests. In an email interview, Bec Strating, a lecturer in the department of politics and philosophy at La Trobe University in Australia focusing on Indonesia and East Timor, which is also known as Timor-Leste, explains the background to the maritime dispute and how crucial the natural gas field in question is to East Timor’s flagging economy.

WPR: What is at stake in the maritime dispute between Australia and East Timor, and why has the process of finalizing an agreement stalled? ...

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