I leave Australia today for a visit to Timor-Leste to strengthen ties with one of our closest neighbours, and assure the Timorese people of Labor’s continuing support for a fair and just resolution of our maritime boundary dispute.
Over the next two days I will be meeting with President Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres, Prime Minister Dr Rui Maria de Araujo and senior ministers.
All Australians are rightly proud of the role we played in supporting the Timorese people to claim their place as one of the world’s newest and proudest democracies.
However, our bilateral relations have been strained by the maritime boundary dispute.
There has now been more than 40 years of uncertainty over this maritime border and Labor committed in February last year to reaching a binding international resolution with Timor-Leste, either through bilateral negotiation or international arbitration.
I will also be visiting Australian development assistance projects, meeting with a number of our aid partners and attending a dinner with young Timorese women leaders.