By Raimundus Oki & Monty Jacka
Tempotimor (Dili) – The National Parliament has approved legislation for the ratification of the Maritime Borders treaty between Timor-Leste and Australia.
The bills were presented in government on July 16, in the presence of the Minister of Petroleum and Minerals, Agio Pereira, and the current Minister of Finance, Sara Lobo Brites.
In Parliament, chief negotiator Xanana Gusmão and President of the National Petroleum and Mineral Authority, Gualdino da Silva, presented the outcomes of the negotiation process with the petroleum companies currently operating in the joint development area.
They explained that the proposed laws aim to adapt existing legislation necessary for the treaty between Timor-Leste and Australia to be officially confirmed, and for maritime borders to be established in the Timor sea.
During the opening speech of the general debate on July 18, Agio Pereira stressed the importance of the treaty to Timor-Leste.
"Officially defining maritime borders with Australia will not only allow Timor-Leste to improve it’s standing in economic-social globalization, but also enhance sustainable and balanced development for our young country, contributing to the construction of a prosperous future for all of us."
Mr Pereira added that "the defining of borders will undoubtedly strengthen foreign business and investment, increase jobs and develop, among other things, the fisheries and tourism sectors."
The treaty will only take effect after the two states - Timor-Leste and Australia, consider the "transitional arrangements" concluded, the governor explained.
Mr Pereira also stated that " the Maritime Boundary Treaty that the Government submits for ratification of the National Parliament, together with the four bills, aims to enable Timor-Leste to consolidate its independence and territorial sovereignty as far as it is necessary to ensure ratification of the Maritime Borders Treaty."
“On August 30, we will not only celebrate 20 years of the popular consultation, but also the entry into force of the Treaty that will enable us to exercise sovereignty in the waters and resources of the Timor Sea, achieve our full sovereignty and become as a Nation, every time, stronger! "
The bills will now be debated and voted on in the specialties by the committees of the National Parliament, from July 19-23.
On July 24 the legislative package returns to parliament for the final vote on the proposed laws and vote on the resolution ratifying the treaty that defines the Maritime Borders between Timor-Leste and Australia.
The final essay will be sent to the President of the Republic on July 26.