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Monday, January 9, 2017, 12:17

East Timor plans to restart border talks with Australia

By Associated Press
East Timor plans to restart border talks with Australia
East Timor Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao (L) briefs Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr (R) with a map of East Timor during their meeting at the government palace in Dili on Dec 13, 2012. ( AFP PHOTO / VALENTINO DE SOUSA)

CANBERRA, Australia — East Timor 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, East Timor 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.

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