BACK DOOR e-news on East Timor:
Oct 1st 2004
Timor Sea Talks & Boundaries (20-30 Sep 2004)


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* Timor-Leste Civil Society Demands Fair Boundary

Australian Solidarity with Timor-Leste

Mary MacKillop Institute for East Timorese Studies (MMIETS)

-- Timor Sea Justice Coalition (TSJC) Darwin

* Other Events in Australia

* About Back Door

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Timor-Leste Civil Society Demands Fair Boundary

East Timor NGO Forum

Caicoli Street, Dili, Timor-Leste
Tel +670-723-5063
Email: or

29 September 2004

Full details:

Civil society and people in Timor-Leste, including the NGOs issuing this statement, continue to follow the negotiations between our government and Australia with great interest. We believe that the issues being discussed in Darwin this week are among the most important for the future of our nation.

Based on what we have been able to learn about the negotiations process, we urge Australia to do the following:

1.      Respect the national sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, negotiating with our government as an equal partner and not belittling us with offers of “Christmas presents.” Listen and respond to our national right to establish the boundaries of our newly-independent nation.

2.      Although it appears that Timor-Leste’s negotiators are considering a “creative solution” which would put off a boundary settlement for many decades, we continue to believe that a permanent boundary, both for the water column and the seabed, is essential for completing our struggle for national independence. The boundary should be based on current international legal principles, along the median line between our two coasts, with lateral boundaries decided according to current international law.

3.      Return to the international dispute resolution processes for maritime boundaries of the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

4.      Do not involve our future in your nation’s politics. Over the past six months, we have been disappointed to see Timor-Leste’s rights used by Australian politicians for domestic political purposes. Our rights are based on international law and moral principles, not on Australian public opinion polls. We are struck by the contrast between last year, when you refused to meet more than once every six months, and now, just before your election, when you want to meet every week.

5.      Respect Timor-Leste’s right to develop our resources on a timetable that is best for our people. We are dismayed by Australia’s support for Woodside’s hunger to extract Sunrise gas as fast as possible.

6.      Stop exploration of Laminaria-Corallina and other fields in disputed territory, including issuing of new licenses. Place all revenues received from such fields in an escrow account, to be apportioned between our nations when an agreement is completed.

HAK Association,
Haburas Foundation,
La’o Hamutuk (East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis),
LAIFET (Labor Advocacy Institute of East Timor),
Timor-Leste Community Radio Association (ARKTL), 
The Mirror of the People (LABEH),
Forum Tau Matan (FTM),
Timor-Leste Students Association.

About ET NGO Forum:

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Australian Solidarity with Timor-Leste

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Timor Sea Resources - Issues of Principle

Sister Susan Connelly,
Deputy Director
Mary MacKillop Institute for East Timorese Studies (MMIETS)
Phone: 02 9623 2847; Email:

25 September 2004

Full text:

"Here is a paper I gave at Politics in the Pub on 17.09.04. With the Timor Sea talks underway between Australia and East Timor at the moment, it remains to be seen what outcome there will be.  I believe that regardless of what the East Timor Government accepts, there are issues of principle which Australians should require that our Government fulfil. 
These made up the terms of the recent petition:
1.  That a fair and equitable boundary be set.
2.  That Australia negotiates in good faith and in a timely fashion.
3.  That Australia returns to International arbitration.
4.  That Australia stops benefitting financially from areas under dispute.
(Please note that Australia has been receiving one million dollars a day from an area claimed by East Timor. This amounts to nearly 2 billion dollars, ten times the amount we have spent there in aid.) ...
Australian policy is that we benefit financially from areas which are under dispute, and that policy has brought us nearly $2 billion since 1999. In discussing consequences of this policy, it is both fair and proper to consider the effects of the distribution of wealth.  So whilst I argue that the ownership of the resources of the Timor Sea must be determined only on principles of accepted law and customary practice, I maintain that the dire need of the people of East Timor makes the application of justice a priority. East Timor has gained its political independence, but is not yet economically independent.  It is one of the poorest nations in Asia."
Sr. Susan Connelly, Spokesperson on oil issues,
Mary MacKillop Institute for East Timorese Studies (MMIETS)

About the Mary MacKillop Institute / Institutu Mary MacKillop:

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Timor Sea Negotiation Issues Sept 2004

Rob Wesley-Smith, Co-convenor

Timor Sea Justice Coalition (TSJC) Darwin
Mobile: 0419  807 175; Email:

21 September 2004

Full text:

"* Despite misleading DFAT statements, East Timor also has a priority to establish its own Maritime Boundaries, after a 24 year armed and diplomatic struggle to remove its illegal occupiers. No deal done on their Maritime Boundaries during those years can be accepted as binding today, and the struggle for national sovereignty is not over until the country establishes its national borders on land and sea. ...
* We are worried about a reported offer of an extra $3billion, and the report saying Mari Alkatiri forecasted that with a median line boundary they would get $12billion. These figures are far too low from both sides, as the initial estimates were made on the basis of oil prices of around US$20/barrel. ...
* A reexamination of the value of the Greater Sunrise project which contains nearly 2m BOE, suggests total revenue of at least US$70b in future years, and a "government take" of US$35billion and up ...
* Our view is that anything less than an East Timor share of 90% of "government take" will be unfair, given that under UNCLOS rules we expect East Timor owns 100% of the resource. This means East Timor must gain at least US$30b not just $3b."
Rob Wesley-Smith, Co-convenor, Timor Sea Justice Coalition - Darwin

About TSJC:

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Other Events in Australia

All events, including details:


Next Melbourne TSJC meeting
Wednesday 13 October at 6.30pm
at the John Curtin Hotel upstairs, 29 Lygon Street CARLTON (opposite Trades Hall) .
We will be catching up on latest developments on the Timor Sea issue and where to next for the campaign.  Congrats to the Canberra rallyers!
General meetings of Melbourne's Timor Sea Justice Campaign are held at 3-weekly intervals on alternating Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Vannessa Hearman:
Trish Woodcroft-Lee: or 0407 580 777
Dan Nicholson or 0409 328 289

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About Back Door

Back Door is a free Australia based
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* urgent actions related to East Timor,
* coming events within Australia.

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* supports East Timorese self-determination and
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Australia nia ulun tenki fo fila fali mina ho mos gas ba Timor Loro Sa'e!

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