Today I welcomed His Excellency Mr Hernâni Coelho to Australia on his first visit as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. The visit highlighted the ongoing strength of the bilateral relationship between Australia and Timor-Leste.

Reflecting our shared history, Australia remains Timor-Leste’s largest partner in development co-operation. In 2015-16, our development assistance will reach $93.9 million. It will continue to focus on the priority areas of enhancing human development, strengthening governance and stimulating private sector development.

In 2015, as part of the New Colombo Plan, over 30 Australian education students will undertake teaching practicums in Timorese schools. This initiative will further enhance the close ties between our people and I look forward to further student exchanges.

I am pleased to confirm that Mr Coelho and I have reaffirmed our commitment to resolving amicably our differences in relation to the Timor Sea.

Australia is committed to finding a solution within the existing treaty framework, which continues to deliver substantial benefits, including a $16.5 billion Petroleum Fund in Timor-Leste. The treaties have provided an effective means to share resources claimed by both countries and develop them jointly.

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