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East Timor parliament OKs sea border treaty with Australia

July 23, 2019

DILI, East Timor (AP) — East Timor’s parliament has voted in favor of ratifying a maritime boundary treaty with Australia that governs how the two countries will share billions of dollars of oil and gas riches lying beneath the Timor Sea.

East Timor, one of the world’s youngest and poorest nations, and Australia, one of the richest, signed a historic treaty in March last year drawing their maritime borders, ending years of wrangling. It paves the way for development of the offshore Greater Sunrise gas field.

East Timorese independence hero Xanana Gusmao said Tuesday his country was losing $5 million a month while the agreement remained unratified.

He said the treaty will be ratified when Australia’s prime minister visits East Timor on Aug. 30, the 20th anniversary of a referendum that granted independence from Indonesia.

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