BACK DOOR Newsletter on Timor Loro Sa'e: Monday July 9 2001


This email contains a summary of the items added to the website during the week
(ending Monday July 9)

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. Call for "Timor Gap Watch"
. Position statements
. Articles & News

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Click on links relating to Timor Oil at:

Call for "Timor Gap Watch"
Position statements
Articles & News

Call for "Timor Gap Watch":

Fev 3 STL: Bispo Carlos Ximenes Belo husu atu bele harii “Timor Gap Watch”  News from ETimor added July 6
“Ha’u ladun fiar uituan ho liafuan sira nebe hateten katak ita sei sai nasaun nebe riku tanba mina, ... Ita sei sai nasaun nebe riku wainhira honorarium (royalties) ne’e uza atu dezenvolve nasaun, la’os atu koruptor sira mak gasta. ... Wainhira iha badan nebe kontrola (watch-dog), ha’u fiar katak Timor Loro Sa’e sei sai nasaun nebe riku, ... Maibe se laiha ita sei bele sai hanesa nasaun balun iha Afrika nebe taxa ba mina nian uza fali atu hariku na’ok-teen sira, la’os povu.” Bispo Carlos Ximenes Belo

Feb 3 STL: Bishop Belo Calls For Timor Gap Watch  News from ETimor updated Feb 9
"In order to ensure that the royalties [from Timor Gap] are used only for the country [ETimor], Bishop Belo called for the setting up of an independent body [Timor Gap Watch] that will monitor every liter of oil from the Timor Gap and the way royalties are generated from it. Also the manner in which the royalties are spent will be closely monitored." Suara Timor Lorosae

Position Statements:

July 4 Brereton Press Release On Timor Gap Agreement Release added July 5
“This is a very welcome development which will afford East Timor the opportunity to achieve a much greater measure of economic self-reliance in place of aid dependency, ... In the meantime, we are committed to work energetically with the international community to ensure that East Timor receives the necessary foreign aid to ensure immediate humanitarian and development challenges are fully addressed. ... Petroleum and gas revenues from the Timor Gap will not begin to come on stream for several years, and strong Australian support for East Timor will be required for many years to come.” Laurie Brereton MP, Shadow Minister For Foreign Affairs, Australia

Jul 4 ACFOA: Well Done Downer On Timor Oil Treaty  Release added July 4
“This treaty gives the East Timorese an important independent revenue source for about ten years as they work toward self-reliance, ... The Government and Mr Downer have correctly interpreted the mood of the electorate by ensuring a positive outcome for the East Timorese through this new treaty as well as through the ongoing commitment of Australian government aid.” Jim Redden, spokesperson for the Australian Council for Overseas Aid

Jul 3 UN: Timor Sea arrangement approved by East Timor cabinet  Release added July 5
“This is the very first time the United Nations has participated in negotiating a treaty on behalf of a country. It will be up to the new elected Government of East Timor to decide whether it wants the treaty or not. I believe it is a good treaty, I think it is to the advantage of East Timor and so my recommendation would be that East Timor agree its terms,” Peter Galbraith, Cabinet Member for Political Affairs and Timor Sea

July 3 AUSGOV: Agreement on Timor Gap  Release added July 5
"The key elements of the Arrangement are: a revenue split of 90 per cent for East Timor and 10 per cent for Australia from petroleum development activities in the Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA); deferral of delimitation of a permanent seabed boundary without prejudice to Australia’s and East Timor’s rights or entitlements; maintenance of the contractual terms of the existing petroleum/gas projects (Bayu-Undan, Greater Sunrise and Elang-Kakatua); Australian jurisdiction over the planned pipeline from the JPDA to Australia; unitisation of the Greater Sunrise field (which straddles the JPDA and an area under Australian jurisdiction) on the basis that 20 percent of the field lies within the JPDA and 80 percent of the field lies within Australian jurisdiction; and the new treaty will have a duration of 30 years." Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer; The Minister for Industry, Science and Resources Senator Minchin; the Attorney-General Daryl Williams

May 20 FRETILIN: Electoral Commitment 2001  Position statement added July 5
"Oil and natural gas are non-renewable sources of energy and revenue. The Administration will set a policy on the Timor Sea oil and gas exploration as well as on-shore exploration and will adopt a modern Code to ensure State control over that wealth and resources in order to maximise revenue and income. The Administration will define a strict framework to regulate the allocation of such revenues to be re-invested in the development of sectors such as fisheries, tourism, agriculture, infrastructure, communications, education, health, transport systems, development of alternative energy sources, etc." FRETILIN: Frente Revolucionária Do Timor-Leste Independente

Articles & News:

Jul 6 AT: Timor Gap: East Timor not counting its pennies yet  News added July 7
"Tim Anderson, a research officer with the Sydney-based group Aidwatch, cautions against over-optimistic views that East Timor will gain significant income without putting further pressure on the oil companies. “What we would like to see examined is how the costs of production are determined and accounted for. After 10 years of the treaty’s operation, it should be possible to assess whether the cost accounting system is working,” he says." Asia Times

Jul 6 TP: Angela protests Timor Gap Agreement on behalf of National Council  News from ETimor added July 7
“We do not know the details of the negotiations and how the oil and gas resources are really being split. All this while we have been kept in the dark ­ there were only one or two people making the decisions. Once again the people of Timor Lorosae have been sold out, ... We are not yet a definitive country, and we cannot give that right to bind the country to an outsider,” Angela Freitas, a National Council member from the Trabalista Party

Jul 6 Guard: East Timor signs lucrative oil deal  News added July 7
"In addition to its 10% share of the upstream royalties, Australia is likely to make four to five times that figure from refining the oil and gas, ... “Ninety percent is great,” Mr Galbraith said. “I think it’s the best deal we could have gotten. Obviously, I think we were entitled to 100% of the upstream [royalties], but to get that would have meant going to court and, with the time delay, we would have lost out.” Australia was granted a 50-50 split when East Timor was under Indonesian rule, partly, it is thought, in return for recognising Indonesian sovereignty over the territory, which lasted for 25 years until 1999. The Australians initially wanted to maintain that ratio, but soon realised that their claim had little legitimacy." John Aglionby, The Guardian south-east Asia correspondent

Jul 6 SCMP: Oil, gas deal 'favours Australia'  News added July 7
" “The new 90/10 split looks good on paper but there is a very arcane science in determining what is a barrel of oil, how by-products are defined, whether shipping is taxable, whether tax should start at the pipe or in the air and so on. You could argue that the Australians have given them [East Timor] 90 per cent of nothing,” said a source close to the negotiations." Vaudine England in Jakarta

Jul 5 SMH: The Timor Gap  Editorial added July 7
"The Prime Minister, Mr Howard, says it is “generous”. The Northern Territory Chief Minister, Mr Burke, calls it “extremely generous”. The assumption is easily made that Australia has given something away ... It is wrong, however, to assume Australia has neglected its interests. ... Even under the final revenue sharing formula Australia stands to gain greatly. The 90:10 split applies only to the JPDA; an 80:20 split applies to the Greater Sunrise field. Apart from about $1 billion in direct revenue over the next 20 years - compared with East Timor’s expectation of more than $7 billion - Australia will benefit substantially from the agreement’s provision for a pipeline to Darwin." Sydney Morning Herald

Jul 5 RDP: Timorese leaders say oil revenue must be spent wisely  News added July 6
"Until a system is set up to ensure that the money, these resources, will indeed benefit the whole population and not just some bank accounts, it will be a good idea to take great care. And above all we must develop a transparent, solid, effective system to absorb this money and spend it positively to develop the whole country." Mari Alkatiri, East Timor’s Minister for Economic Affairs

Jul 5 AFP: Unseemly row breaks out before Timor Gap treaty signing  News added July 6
"The Economics Minister in East Timor’s interim administration, Mari Alkatiri, has threatened to boycott the signing ceremony if the Chief Minister of Australia’s Northern Territory, Denis Burke, attends. Alkatiri accused Burke of staging rival negotiations by inviting politicians from Timor’s embryonic parliament, the National Council, to attend talks that undermined the official Timor negotiating team." AFP

Jul 4 DJN: Australia The Main Winner From East Timor Pact -Timor Minister  News added July 5
"Australia stands to gain most of the economic benefits from energy production in the area, he [Galbraith] said. ... Galbraith rejected repeated assertions by Australia’s Foreign Minister Alexander Downer that Australia wanted to be and was generous in striking the agreement. The agreement isn’t about generosity, he said. “The Australians did what we did, which is they bargained very hard on behalf of their own national interest,” he said in an interview on Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio." Ray Brindal, Dow Jones Newswires

Jul 4 SMH: East Timor gets $7bn for its share of oil and gas in historic deal  News added July 4
“It will make the difference between being mired in poverty and having a chance to provide a better life for the people,” Peter Galbraith, East Timor’s chief negotiator

Jul 1 AETA: The Wahid Visit, Timor Gap and Beyond  Article added July 5
"Obviously Australia and East Timor want a friendly and cooperative relationship for the long term. A further potential sticking point exists though - analysis of the boundaries of the Timor Gap suggests the Timorese could claim territory to the east and west of the Gap - territory that is currently considered  Australian. These areas contain some highly productive oil wells, which pay significant revenues to Australia. Timor has legitimate claims to these areas, and (especially after the disastrous destruction of September 99) cannot forego such vitally needed revenues." Andrew McNaughtan, Convenor, The Australia East Timor Association (AETA)

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Access the following recently added news items at:

Jul 4 East Timor - Floods OCHA Situation Report No. 2  Report added July 6
"Two weeks ago, three days of heavy rain led to flooding in inhabited areas of Los Palos [in the eastern part of East Timor] ... the number of affected people has increased to 2508 people (513 families) who are in need of some kind of assistance, ... Most immediate emergency needs have been met" UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

June 2001 IFRC: East Timor Diary (World Disasters Report 2001)  Excerpt added July 6
"That night on the way home from work, I pass a ship the size of an oil tanker, dwarfing the palm trees. It is the UN hotel. International staff serve, manage and cook. Food comes from Singapore and Australia. It serves 600 guests, paying AS$ 150 a night. Not a cent gets into the local economy. That is, if you exclude the shy girls, sitting next to aid workers in their four-wheel drive cars. They aren’t imported from elsewhere. They’re cheaper here." Kies Rietveld, a medical doctor who has worked in Afghanistan and East Timor

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Access details of Canberra & other Australian Events at:

Book Launch for John Martinkus book on East Timor "A Dirty Little War",

coupled with the opening of Photo Exhibition: Through the Eye of the Lens
Info: HT Lee: email
Also Melbourne and Dili on other dates
Friday July 13th, 6.30pm
Photo exhibition ends Wednesday 18 July

Australian press photographers East Timor exhibition:
"Through the Eye of the Lens Jan 1997- Jan 2000"
in conjunction with the launch of book: A Dirty Little War
Info: HT Lee: email
Also Sydney, Melbourne and Dili on other dates
Friday July 13th, 6.30pm - Wednesday 18 July

Mid July SBS screening of King/CavaDini documentary film "Starting From Zero".

July, London,U.K., International Photo Exhibition on East Timor to be launched by John Pilger includes important work by Penny Tweedie from 1974-75 tours of East Timor.

Sydney Timorese Community Festival with "Leaving the Crocodile" Exhibition.
"The curators would like to invite all members of the East Timorese community in Sydney, Sydney based solidarity groups & other interested individuals to contribute ideas, information, items of interest or significance, photographs, cultural items, and their own stories." Principal Curator: Amanda Wise: email
Deadline for Submissions is 1st August

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