East Timorese give hero’s welcome to border talks negotiator
DILI, East Timor – Thousands of East Timorese have lined the road to the capital’s international airport to cheer returning independence hero Xanana Gusmao for leading negotiations that settled the sea border between the impoverished country and Australia.
Gusmao, whose party lost power in parliamentary elections last year, was greeted Sunday at Dili’s airport with cries of “Viva Xanana Gusmao.”
He’d been abroad for the previous eight months leading the final stretch of maritime border talks.
Australia and East Timor, one of the world’s youngest nations, signed a historic treaty Tuesday drawing their maritime boundary, ending years of bitter wrangling and opening a new chapter in relations.
The two sides are still to agree on final terms for exploitation of billions of dollars of oil and gas riches that lie beneath the Timor Sea.