In the coming days it is likely we will get more information about the "boundary breakthrough" announced on the 1st of September.
According to an article published last week by the Portuguese news agency LUSA, this week Timor-Leste, Australia and the UN Conciliation Commission are participating in meetings at The Hague to finalise remaining details.
It is significant that the parties are returning to the Netherlands – the location for the Opening Hearings on the 29th of August 2016. On that occasion Australia fought tooth and nail to get out of the process on the grounds of jurisdiction. The UN Commission dismissed all of its arguments.
Since then there have been many meetings – but not at The Hague, mostly in Singapore – a convenient location much closer to home. The return to The Hague is an indicator that the finish line is close.
Considering the location, and the Commission's practice of announcing any significant progress, we hope an official update in the next days will include a map and some of the basics about the revenue splits applying to the development of Greater Sunrise.
After the announcement of the breakthrough I wrote a response entitled Three Cheers for Change. Comparing what comes out of the Hague this time with the position declared by Australia back in August 2016 will show just how massive this change is.
But will it be enough for advocates who want the very best for East Timor? Who had hoped to see all of Greater Sunrise in Timorese waters and shared development consigned to history?
We will soon know more...
A lateral boundary based on the median line? Surely. And if there is to be shared of development of Greater Sunrise Timor-Leste must get the lion's share. Perhaps the Commission will also facilitate a proper assessment of the development options for Greater Sunrise.
For years Timor-Leste made a case for the gas to land on its shores if possible. Darwin undeniably reaped the benefits of the Bayu Undan pipeline. The Northern Territory's Chief Ministers over the past decade have declared that the pipeline and onshore processing has provided huge boost to their economy.
Now it is time to see maximum benefits of any Greater Sunrise development going to Timor.
So – we have an interesting week ahead and the finish line in sight.
May this "Haggling in the Hague" produce the best possible outcome for our friends in East Timor still fighting with dignity after such a long, dark history of regrettable behaviour by successive Australian Governments.