14/03/2017 Parliament Joint Standing Committee on Treaties
Agreement with France on the Future Submarine program Maritime arrangements withTimor-Leste
"I will now turn to why the proposed amendment and the agreement on the duration of the Timor Sea Treaty is in Australia's national interest. Given that a full explanation is set out in our national interest analysis I intend only to highlight the key points.
Australia and Timor-Leste are engaged in a conciliation under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The function of the conciliation commission, as set out in article 6 of annex V of UNCLOS, is to:
…hear the parties, examine their claims and objections, and make proposals to the parties with a view to reaching an amicable settlement.
As part of the conciliation, Australia and Timor-Leste agreed to an integrated package of confidence-building measures proposed by the conciliation commission. These agreed measures have been set out by the parties and the commission in recent press releases.
The package was proposed by the commission to facilitate the reaching of a maritime boundary agreement between Australia and Timor-Leste. It is the government's assessment that the package of confidence-building measures is in Australia's national interest as it will assist us to move forward in a positive and constructive way in the conciliation.
For the benefit of the committee, I will set out the agreed confidence-building measures, which form the package that was agreed by the commission and the parties. No. 1, Timor-Leste would terminate the CMATS treaty, as it had stated clearly that it had intended to do and as is its right under the treaty; No. 2, both parties would confirm that the Timor Sea Treaty would continue in its original form; No. 3, the termination of the CMATS treaty would include termination of all its terms; and No. 4, Timor-Leste would withdraw the two arbitrations it had commenced against Australia. Implementing these commitments is a critical part of the conciliation process.
The proposed amendment and the agreement on the duration of the Timor Sea Treaty will allow us to move forward in a positive way to seek to reach an agreement with Timor-Leste while, at the same time, providing certainty and stability for investors in the Timor Sea."
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