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  • A United Nations Conciliation Commission recently decided that conciliation proceedings can proceed between Timor-Leste and Australia.
  • In its decision, the Commission interpreted Annex V of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other agreements.
  • Although the Commission’s recommendations are non-binding, the process offers an opportunity for Australia to resolve its long-standing maritime boundary dispute with Timor-Leste.

In April 2016, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (Timor-Leste) initiated compulsory conciliation with the Commonwealth of Australia (Australia) through a United Nations Conciliation Commission (the Commission). The proceedings concern the maritime boundary between Timor-Leste and Australia. On 19 September 2016, the Commission rendered its Decision on Competence, finding that conciliation proceedings could proceed. This note traverses the legal and factual background, describes the Commission’s Decision on Competence, and considers some implications for Timor-Leste, Australia and other States.

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