On 27 August 2015, the Jakarta Post reported that after a meeting between President Joko Widodo of Indonesia and Prime Minister Rui Maria de Aritjo of Timor Leste, 1 the two countries agreed to delimit their maritime boundaries? The report indicated that the two states would seek to delimit their northern maritime boundaries first, before turning to the maritime boundaries to the south of the island of Timor. At the time of writing, negotiations had begun.
The negotiation of maritime boundaries with Indonesia will present a significant challenge for Timor Leste. Much has been said and written about Timor Leste's maritime boundary with Australia to the south, and there is a risk that some of that commentary, which has purported very generous formulations of Timor Leste's entitlements, may lead to unrealistic expectations when it comes to dealing with Indonesia. Overly optimistic assessments of Timor Leste's jurisdiction may prevent the reaching of an agreement with Indonesia. This paper will consider the issues facing Timor Leste is delimiting its maritime boundaries with Indonesia.