No good time for Xanana Gusmão to let go
Author: Damien Kingsbury, Deakin University
Timor-Leste’s prime minister, Xanana Gusmão, has deferred his decision to step down as his country’s leader until April 2015. He had announced earlier this year that he intended to leave office firstly in September, then in October. He has since said that he wishes to stay on to oversee negotiations with Australia over a resolution to the Timor Sea dispute.
Timor-Leste has disputed the 2002 creation of a Joint Petroleum Development Area in the Timor Sea, and the adjacent boundaries, from which both Australia and Timor-Leste derive profits from oil extraction. Timor-Leste has argued in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that the treaty, which was agreed to by Timor-Leste under pressure, should be invalidated as a result of Australia spying on the Timor-Leste negotiating team.