BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor     home | timor oil | search

"It looks as though East Timor will sacrifice the median line boundary, or maybe this is Downer's spin - who really knows except the participants - but we need to keep the pressure on for a just solution ... We need the max effort NOW as detail may be sewn up to East Timor's detriment - it is unacceptable for East Timor to be dudded of its long term economic future due to a desire to improve relations with Australia. ... just when success appears to be happening is the most dangerous time, and when activists good will and involvement is most needed." Rob Wesley-Smith, Spokesperson, Australians For a Free East Timor & Co-convenor, Timor Sea Justice Coalition - Darwin


Topic: Keep pressure on for a just solution to Timor Oil dispute


Author:

Rob Wesley-Smith,
Spokesperson, AFFET,
Darwin
Co-convenor, TSJC, Darwin

Phone: (08) 8983 2113
Mobile (today only 12 Aug 2004): 0419  807 175
Email: rwesley@ozemail.com.au

Australians For a Free East Timor (AFFET) Darwin

Timor Sea Justice Coalition (TSJC) Darwin
Home:
http://www.TimorSeaJustice.org



12 August 2004:

It looks as though East Timor will sacrifice the median line boundary [as a result of the discussions between Jose Ramos Horta and Alexander Downer], or maybe this is Downer's spin - who really knows except the participants - but we need to keep the pressure on for a just solution. 


The Australian obviously still thinks the Continental Shelf ends at the Timor Trench. 


We need the max effort NOW as detail may be sewn up to East Timor's detriment - it is unacceptable for East Timor to be dudded of its long term economic future due to a desire to improve relations with Australia. 


Some thoughts I had recently: 


I've yet to meet an East Timorese who does not regard the issues of Maritime Boundaries as sacrosanct, as an issue of national sovereignty.  I wholly sympathise with that, though I believe the signing of the Timor Sea Treaty has jeopardised exactly where ITLOS (International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea) would draw particularly the laterals, I imagine especially the western lateral.   In other words, to get a negotiated settlement is BEST, if it can achieve getting Maritime Boundaries to include LaminariaCorallina to the west, and Greater Sunrise to the east, and thus all or most of the Government take (Royalties in old terms). 


I want to emphasize that I think that if negotiated Royalties are to happen then the precedent is the JPDA (Joint Petroleum Development Area) agreement where East Timor got 90%, and I think East Timor should NOT countenance less than 90%. It is far better to let Sunrise lapse for the moment, I think this anyway, it is the
Northern Territory (NT) Govt and the Oil Companies that need Sunrise now, not East Timor.  Woodside recently said that if they dropped off the queue they would have to go back to the back of the queue again, a delay of a few years.

This is no bad thing, in fact an excellent thing, allows for East Timor technical and political expertise to get experience and to grow.  Oil and gas prices will continue to grow, to East Timor's advantage, etc


To 'give away' 10% is also not a good thing, but that 10% should be used to get Australia to provide the immediate security in the Timor Sea, and to train East Timorese in that matter and provide decent patrol boats etc to take over in 10-15 years.  This is attractive to Australia for antiterrorism stuff also fisheries protection.  The current crop of patrol boats is to be replaced by newer bigger ones as built over next few years so there should be some spares soon.


OK, one might accept 80:20 in favour of East Timor, given the reverse now, and some suggestion East Timor might only get 80% by ITLOS
(International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea) - I've not heard any suggestion East Timor would get less than 80% of Greater Sunrise via ITLOS/UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).


If East Timor wants its sovereignty, the median line and decent laterals must be fought for.  Surely Australians support international law,  cases decided since 1982 being 80: nil in favour of this as far as I know.

In my experience eg with Wattie Creek Gurindgis mid-70s, just when success appears to be happening is the most dangerous time, and when activists good will and involvement is most needed.


Rob Wesley-Smith

Spokesperson, Australians For a Free East Timor - Darwin (Northern Territory, Australia)

Co-convenor, Timor Sea Justice Coalition - Darwin (Northern Territory, Australia)

today only on  0419  807175


Receive FREE email Web-updates: email wildwood@pcug.org.au and include the words "Subscribe BACK DOOR" in the message header.
To add items related to Timor Oil send to
BACK DOOR's email: wildwood@pcug.org.au

Petitions, Reports & Position statements are especially welcomed.
Postal address: BACK DOOR PO Box 5 Lyneham ACT 2602 AUSTRALIA


BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor     home | timor oil | search
Website: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood Email: wildwood@pcug.org.au