BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor .........home .........August news

“In October 1999, while Dili was still in smoldering ruins, East Timorese leaders indicated to the companies that they welcomed their continued investment in the Timor Sea. At the time, the leaders were not aware of the unfair investment incentives, which lay hidden in company contracts. ... it is ludicrous now to assert that East Timor is obliged to give the companies the benefit of the same unfair fiscal incentives that were offered to them by the Indonesians and Australians ... offered to attract companies to invest in a territory which belonged neither to Indonesia nor Australia.” former Political Affairs minister, Peter Galbraith
"There is too much money involved in the Timor Gap for Phillips Petroleum and its allies to not stay involved. The question is, under what conditions will they be involved? As the past conduct of Phillips and its allies in aiding Indonesia’s subjugation of East Timor demonstrates, they are not defending any principle; they are simply trying to ensure high profits. The East Timorese leadership is correct to insist upon a set of tax policies that is significantly more favourable to East Timor." La'o Hamutuk: East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis
See also: BD: TIMOR OIL - A collection of recent reports, position statements, petitions, articles and news

From: The La'o Hamutuk Bulletin

Volume 2, No. 5
August 2001

Issue focus: 
Women and the Reconstruction of East Timor

Table of contents: The entire bulletin with a downloadable printable PDF version, will be available shortly at http://www.etan.org/lh/.
Editions in other languages will also be available there.



Editorial: Phillips Petroleum and Canberra Play an Old Game

Once again, greedy oil companies and their allies in the Australian government are trying to take advantage of East Timor. And, once again, they are wrong.

The latest controversy concerns an announcement on 26 July by Phillips Petroleum, a U.S.-based oil company, and its fellow investors in the Timor Gap. In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Phillips expressed their dismay that East Timorese leaders will not guarantee them the same tax rates they received from the Indonesian occupation authorities. For this reason, Phillips and its partners are delaying “indefinitely” the construction of a US$500 million pipeline that would carry natural gas from the Bayu-Undan field to Darwin.

A spokesperson for Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer criticized the East Timorese position for reportedly trying to extract a further US$500 million from oil companies involved in the Timor Gap. While acknowledging East Timor’s right to decide its own tax policies, he claimed that East Timor’s position contradicts a signed promise by East Timorese leaders Xanana Gusmão, José Ramos Horta and Mari Alkatiri in October 1999.  Reportedly, this agreement stated that taxation rates would be no higher than those under the Indonesian authorities. “We think it’s important that [East Timor] holds up its original commitment,” stated Downer’s spokesperson.

Rightfully, UNTAET head Sergio Vieira de Mello publicly expressed strong disapproval of Phillips Petroleum and various Australian government officials. And lead negotiators for the recently-signed memorandum of understanding on the new Timor Gap Treaty, Mari Alkatiri and Peter Galbraith, voiced their support for de Mello’s position, with Minister Alkatiri characterizing the concerns of the oil companies and Canberra as “misdirected.”

Phillips and Canberra are attempting to hold East Timor hostage to supposed “promises” made in the immediate aftermath of a campaign of murder and destruction by the Indonesian military and its militia proxies. In doing so, they are trying to maintain a fiscal regime very favourable to the interests of the oil companies, a position gained because of Indonesia’s desire to gain international acceptance of its illegal annexation of East Timor. In this regard, Phillips and Canberra are trying to institutionalise the result of a criminal act, one in which they were partners in crimes.

As former Political Affairs minister, Peter Galbraith argued, “In October 1999, while Dili was still in smoldering ruins, East Timorese leaders indicated to the companies that they welcomed their continued investment in the Timor Sea. At the time, the leaders were not aware of the unfair investment incentives, which lay hidden in company contracts.” For this reason, asserted Galbraith, “it is ludicrous now to assert that East Timor is obliged to give the companies the benefit of the same unfair fiscal incentives that were offered to them by the Indonesians and Australians”, ones “offered to attract companies to invest in a territory which belonged neither to Indonesia nor Australia.”

There is too much money involved in the Timor Gap for Phillips Petroleum and its allies to not stay involved. The question is, under what conditions will they be involved? As the past conduct of Phillips and its allies in aiding Indonesia’s subjugation of East Timor demonstrates, they are not defending any principle; they are simply trying to ensure high profits. The East Timorese leadership is correct to insist upon a set of tax policies that is significantly more favourable to East Timor.


Tetum: (the most common East Timorese language)
La’o Hamutuk, Institutu Timor Lorosa’e ba Analiza no Monitor Reconstrusaun / Institut Permantauan dan Analisis Reconstruksi Timor Loro Sa'e  Updated Aug 18
Saida mak La’o Hamutuk? La’o Hamutuk organizasaun klibur Ema Timor Lorosa’e no Ema Internacional ne’ebe buka atu tau matan, halo analize ho halo relatorio kona ba hahalok (actividade) instuisaun internacional ne’ebe oras ne’e haknaar iha Timor Lorosa’e, liu-liu hahalok sira ne’ebe iha relasaun ho rekonstrusaun fizika no social Timor Lorosa’e nian. La’o Hamutuk fiar katak Povo Timor Lorosa’e mak tenke hakotu iha procesu rekonstrusaun ne’e nia laran no procesu rekonstrusaun ne’e tenke demokratiku no transparante duni.
Staf Timor oan: Inès Martins, Fernando da Silva, Thomas Freitas; Staf Internasional: Pamela Sexton, Mark Salzer; Kuadru Ejekutivu: Sr. Maria Dias, Joseph Nevins, Fr. Jovito Rego de Jesus Araùjo, Aderito Soares Durubasa: Benjamin Sanches Afonso, Tomé Xavier Jeronimo, Maria Bernardino, Manuel Tilman, Djoni Ferdiwijaya Ilustrador: Sebastião Pedro da Silva, Nan Porter Design Jeronimo Staf Monitoriu Projektu Judiciariu JSMP: Christian Ranheim, Caitlin Reiger, Rayner Thwaites
Local Contact:  P.O. Box 340, Dili, East Timor (via Darwin, Australia)  Mobile fone: +61(408)811373;  Telefone Uma: +670(390)325-013
International contact: +1-510-643-4507 Email: laohamutuk@easttimor.minihub.org  Homepage: http://www.etan.org/lh
Boletim La’o Hamutuk: [Tetum PDF format]
Vol. 2, No. 3 Junho 2001 Fundu Monetariu Internasional (IMF) iha Timor Lorosa’e: http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/bulv2n3T.pdf
Vol. 2, Nos. 1-2 Abríl 2001 Vizaun Jeral Hosi Fundu Ba Rekonstrusaun Timor Loro Sa’e: http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/lhbl2n1t.pdf
Vol. 1, No. 4, 31 Dejembru 2000 Banku Mundial iha Timor Loro Sa’e: http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/lhbul4tm.pdf
Vol. 1, No. 3, 17 Novembro 2000 Hari Sistema Saude Nasional iha Timor Lorosa’e:  http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/LHbul3tm.pdf
Vol. 1, No. 2, 17 Julho 2000 Protesaun ba meio ambiente iha TL: http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/bulletin02tetum.pdf
Vol. 1, No. 1, 21 Juñu 2000 Rekonciliasaun: http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/bulletin01tetum.pdf

English:
La'o Hamutuk: East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis  Updated June 24
La'o Hamutuk (Tetum for Walking Together) is a joint East Timorese-international organization that seeks to monitor, to analyze, and to report on the reconstruction activities of the principal international institutions. It believes that the people of East Timor must be the ultimate decisionmakers in the reconstruction process and that the process should be as democratic and transparent as possible ...
East Timorese staff: Inès Martins, Fernando da Silva, Thomas Freitas; International staff: Pamela Sexton, Mark Salzer Executive board: Sr. Maria Dias, Joseph Nevins, Fr. Jovito Rego de Jesus Araùjo, Aderito de Jesus Soares Translators: Maria Bernardino, Tom‚ Xavier Jeronimo JSMP staff: Christian Ranheim, Caitlin Reiger, Rayner Thwaites
International contact: +1-510-643-4507  Email: laohamutuk@easttimor.minihub.org  Homepage: http://www.etan.org/lh
La’o Hamutuk Bulletin: http://www.etan.org/lh/bulletin.html
Mar 23 2001 LH: Job announcement for La'o Hamutuk in East Timor: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/01marjob.htm
Activity Report: Mar 16 2001 LH: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/01marlhreport.html


See also:
BD: TIMOR OIL - A collection of recent reports, position statements, petitions, articles and news


BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor .........home .........August news
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