Client Alerts

Timor-Leste withdraws claims against Australia in arbitration proceedings

Volterra Fietta Client Alert
26 January 2017

As Volterra Fietta reported recently (read here), the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (“Timor-Leste”) and the Commonwealth of Australia (“Australia”) are engaged in compulsory conciliation proceedings as well as in two arbitrations.  The three proceedings, which are all being administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, are related to these States’ maritime dispute in the Timor Sea.

On 24 January 2017, Timor-Leste, Australia and the conciliation commission issued a joint statement disclosing that Timor-Leste recently wrote to the tribunals in the two arbitrations in order to withdraw its claims.  This move signals a commitment to the conciliation proceedings and is “the last step in the integrated package of confidence-building measures agreed during the Commission’s meetings with the Parties in October 2016”.

Earlier this month, Timor-Leste notified Australia of its desire to terminate the 2006 Treaty between Australia and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (the “CMATS”).  As Volterra Fietta explained in its previous client alert on this topic, the CMATS put on hold the rights of both States to pursue claims to sovereign rights and jurisdiction and maritime boundaries in the disputed area, including before any court, tribunal or other dispute settlement mechanism.  That decision also was part of the package of measures.

In the joint statement, the Parties “reaffirmed their commitment to work in good faith towards an agreement on maritime boundaries by the end of the conciliation process in September 2017”.