Australia and East Timor have reached an agreement which determines the maritime boundaries between the two countries. The treaty is a result of a first in the history conciliation procedure under the UN convention of the law of the sea.
The agreement has ended decade-long negotiations. At last it determines the rights and ownership of each of the countries to the oil and gas resources on the Timor Sea, including the unsourced area of Greater Sunrise ,where reserves of gas worth 53 bln dollars are found. Furthermore, the treaty establishes a special system of shared development, exploitation and management of the gas and oil fields in Greater Sunrise in the Timor Sea. Both Australia and East Timor agreed on sharing the income from gas extraction in favor of Timor, which is complacent with the law of the sea, to which Australia was very reluctant before.
Until 1975 East Timor was a Portuguese colony and Portugal never set up proper borders from Australia. Later it was under Indonesian occupation, which agreed on common exploitation area for both countries. Only in 2005, four years after East Timor referendum for independence, a treaty was signed in favor of Australia regarding the division of Greater Sunrise. Despite many documents about the exploitation of the oil and gas resources, until now the border between the countries was never established.