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"The governments of Timor-Leste (East Timor) and Australia have made unprecedented progress in talks this week in Dili concerning the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea, said the Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Co-operation Dr Jose Ramos-Horta. ... The talks have been focused on addressing the issues related to the overlapping maritime boundary claims in the Timor Sea between the two nations. Timor-Leste proposed a creative solution which may involve a resource sharing arrangement in lieu of hastily attempting to resolve the complex and sensitive issues involved in agreeing to a permanent maritime boundary." Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Timor-Leste Government

See Rob Wesley-Smith's response to this media release: 3 May 2005 Wesley-Smith: Open Letter to Horta re Timor Sea Talks




MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND COOPERATION
TIMOR-LESTE GOVERNMENT



MEDIA RELEASE

29 April 2005

Talks on Timor Sea make unprecedented progress




The governments of Timor-Leste (East Timor) and Australia have made unprecedented progress in talks this week in Dili concerning the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea, said the Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Co-operation Dr Jose Ramos-Horta.


“The constructive approach adopted at this week’s talks has led to very positive progress in resolving the Timor Sea dispute. This puts our two nations on the threshold of a new era in bilateral relations and economic cooperation.


“Finding ways to allow the development of petroleum resources will bring significant economic benefit to both nations. Timor-Leste, which is one of the poorest nations in the world, stands to benefit enormously from a final resolution,” Dr Ramos-Horta said.


Dr Ramos-Horta was speaking after the conclusion of three days of talks in Dili between delegations from both countries. This was the fifth in an intensive series of meetings that have been ongoing since September last year. This meeting was by far the most productive, he added.


The talks have been focused on addressing the issues related to the overlapping maritime boundary claims in the Timor Sea between the two nations. Timor-Leste proposed a creative solution which may involve a resource sharing arrangement in lieu of hastily attempting to resolve the complex and sensitive issues involved in agreeing to a permanent maritime boundary.


“There are many details still to be worked through by the two sides. Another meeting will be held in the very near future, but I am confident that we are on the brink of securing an agreement to handle for a long period our competing claims in the Timor Sea and in turn unlock the enormous hydrocarbon potential of this region.”


Dr Ramos-Horta also thanked and expressed appreciation for the vast amount of international support Timor-Leste had received on this issue. He noted, however, that some comments made by parties outside this process did not reflect the approach being taken by both governments. Dr Ramos-Horta is confident that the progress made in these negotiations will be welcomed by all concerned.


“I would like to personally acknowledge the leadership the two prime ministers, who played a decisive role in this week’s progress. The letter sent to Prime Minister Howard by Prime Minister Alkatiri, and in turn the response from Prime Minister Howard, provided the basis for a constructive dialogue between the two parties.


“I would also like to acknowledge the role played by my good friend and counterpart, Foreign Minister Downer. We have had a close working relationship for many years and together we have been through great deal, particularly in 1999. I am pleased that our friendship and goodwill has prevailed despite having differences at times,” he concluded.


29 April 2005




See Rob Wesley-Smith's response to the above media release:

3 May 2005 Wesley-Smith: Open Letter to Horta re Timor Sea Talks
Letter added 5 May 2005

"If the ... 'creative solution' [90% to East Timor and 10% to Australia] was followed, out of the likely available US$40 billion 'government take' from Greater Sunrise, East Timor would get US$36 billion. Instead from what your good friend Alexander 'Lord" Downer has leaked to Australian media the East Timor government /people will get 18% of say US$40bn which is US$7.2 bn, plus a 'generous offer' of $2-5 bn (A$ or US$ not clear), a total of say $10-12bn for giving up its legal maritime boundary entitlements. This is barely one third of what East Timor should be expecting and is entitled to in our view under international law. ONE bloody THIRD!... East Timor being ripped off by US$24 billion plus?" Rob Wesley-Smith, activist, Australians For a Free East Timor (AFFET) & member, Timor Sea Justice Coalition (TSJC) - Darwin (Northern Territory, Australia)


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