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"From a financial perspective, the most important details of how much of the $50 billion of government royalties East Timor will receive from Greater Sunrise, is still to be looked at, but even beyond such details, the proposed deal doesn’t even begin to address the real issue of permanent maritime boundaries ... Downer’s mantra about Australia’s supposed generosity due to the 90/10% spilt in the JPDA, is ridiculous. The JPDA only contains about one third of the contested gas and oil. The crucial factor at this next round of talks will be the Greater Sunrise field which East Timor claims as part of their Exclusive Economic Zone ... The Foreign Minister is muddying the waters by unnecessarily complicating the matter. It really should be a straightforward task of drawing a line halfway between East Timor and Australia. Easy. Gas and oil that’s closer to East Timor is theirs," Tom Clarke, Timor Sea Justice Campaign spokesperson


News Release ­ TIMOR SEA JUSTICE CAMPAIGN ­ News Release

For immediate release: Tuesday, 12 May 2005.

Home: http://www.TimorSeaJustice.org


DEAL OR NO DEAL? GAS AND OIL TALKS RESUME IN SYDNEY



Maritime boundary negotiations between Australia and East Timor resume tomorrow with representatives from the two governments meeting in Sydney to focus on crucial details of a proposed temporary resource sharing deal.


Certain details, such as what percentage spilt the two countries will share of the Greater Sunrise field, will determine whether East Timor will receive the $50 billion of government royalties expected from the field that East Timor is legally entitled to under current International Law.


Comments from Foreign Minister Alexander Downer last week that suggested a deal had been reached have been dismissed as premature with the Timor Sea Justice Campaign highlighting that the ownership of Greater Sunrise has not yet been addressed.


Timor Sea Justice Campaign co-ordinator, Tom Clarke, said such a deal would ignore East Timor’s right as a sovereign nation to control it’s own resources which is a vital step for the fledgling nation’s struggle for economic independence and self-determination.


“From a financial perspective, the most important details of how much of the $50 billion of government royalties East Timor will receive from Greater Sunrise, is still to be looked at, but even beyond such details, the proposed deal doesn’t even begin to address the real issue of permanent maritime boundaries,” Mr Clarke said.


The Timor Sea Justice Campaign also attacked Alexander Downer for his refusal to acknowledge that under International Law, East Timor have rights to areas outside of the already established Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA).


“Downer’s mantra about Australia’s supposed generosity due to the 90/10% spilt in the JPDA, is ridiculous. The JPDA only contains about one third of the contested gas and oil. The crucial factor at this next round of talks will be the Greater Sunrise field which East Timor claims as part of their Exclusive Economic Zone,” Mr Clarke said.


The Timor Sea Justice Campaign is urging the Australian Government to follow International Law and establish a permanent maritime boundary along the median line and with equitable lateral boundaries.


“The Foreign Minister is muddying the waters by unnecessarily complicating the matter. It really should be a straightforward task of drawing a line halfway between East Timor and Australia. Easy. Gas and oil that’s closer to East Timor is theirs,” Mr Clarke said.


East Timor is willing to settle the matter by independent arbitration, but the Australian Government has pre-emptively withdrew recognition of the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.


For further information, please contact:

Tom Clarke, Co-ordinator, Timor Sea Justice Campaign, Melbourne.
Mobile: 0422 545 763 email: tom@timorseajustice.org





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