Government reaffirms commitment to UNCLOS as the ‘constitution of the sea’

Minister of State and of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and

Official Spokesperson for the Government of Timor-Leste

 Dili, July 15th, 2016

Government reaffirms commitment to UNCLOS as the ‘constitution of the sea’

Following the unanimous award issued on the 12th of July by the Tribunal constituted under the auspices of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Matter of the South China Sea Arbitration, between the Republic of the Philippines and the Peoples Republic of China, the Government of Timor-Leste notes the primacy of UNCLOS as the “Constitution” of the law of the sea, as it is known.

Timor-Leste also reaffirms its own commitment to the rules based order under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea for resolving disputes peacefully. As one of the 167 States to have ratified the Convention, Timor-Leste has made no declarations to exempt itself from any aspect of the Convention and trusts that all parties to UNCLOS continue to abide by it.

Although the award in the South China Sea Arbitration is related to a particular set of facts the adjudication has scope to all states party to UNCLOS and Timor-Leste will study the award carefully in regards to rights concerning our own EEZ maritime area.

Timor-Leste currently has proceedings afoot under the UNCLOS and initiated Compulsory Conciliation proceedings on the 11th of April regarding the stand off between our friend and neighbour Australia, concerning our dispute in the Timor Sea. Timor-Leste’s national interest aim is to conclude an agreement with Australia on permanent maritime boundaries.

Spokesperson for the Sixth Constitutional Government, Minister of State Agio Pereira noted “The role of the United Nations and the international community was pivotal in the restoration of our independence and the development of our Nation State. Timor-Leste strongly supports an international rules based order that promotes peace, protects the rights of nations and provides a mechanism for dispute resolution.”