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'Disappointing' no ministers visited Timor

Australian Associated Press - June 16, 2017

The coalition government is under fire for ignoring East Timor and failing to send any ministers to Dili since it came to power in 2013. Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong has just wrapped up a two-day visit to the capital Dili.

Senator Wong met with new President Francisco "Lu-Olo" Guterres, Prime Minister Dr Rui Maria de Araujo and senior ministers. She also toured a vocational education training centre and teachers mentoring program receiving Australian aid support.

"I think it's disappointing there hasn't been a minister visit since the change of government (in 2013)" Senator Wong told AAP from Dili. "It's not far from Darwin at all."

Senator Wong believes bilateral ties have been strained in recent years over the maritime boundary dispute. Australia and the East Timor government are now taking part in conciliation in The Hague.

East Timor notified Australia in January that it wished to tear up a 2006 treaty which split 50-50 future revenue of the Greater Sunrise oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea.

The reserve contains gas and oil worth an estimated $50 billion, but how the spoils will be divided up must now be revisited.

Labor has pledged its support for reaching a binding international resolution with East Timor, either through bilateral negotiation or international arbitration.

Source: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/06/16/disappointing-no-ministers-visited-timor