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"In short, there is no possibility of last week's negotiation achieving a fair deal or a good deal for East Timor, so I and many colleagues fervently hope they fail, and the East Timor people and government shows more of its legendary patience." Rob Wesley-Smith, activist, Australians For a Free East Timor (AFFET) & member, Timor Sea Justice Coalition (TSJC) - Darwin (Northern Territory, Australia)

This page last updated 25 Apr 2005


Downer Timor Sea propaganda, abetted by naive? oz media

[ BD comment: "oz" is Australian English which means: Australia or Australian]


Sat 14th May 2005  re Timor Sea negotiations and actual potential



I woke to the not uncommon sound on ABC news of Alexander Downer claiming it was a signed and sealed done deal by the negotiators,  just required agreement by the governments.  Dan Nicholson of the tsjc sounded a note of caution and reinforced that any deal agreed on this week would be unjust to East Timor.


As usual there was no comment available from ETG [East Timor Government].  That has since perhaps been explained via Lusa seen today dated 13th May  that   "East Timorese Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri denied a report Friday that Dili and Canberra had reached a tentative agreement on the sharing of Timor Sea oil and natural gas revenues, labeling the Australian media report an "absolute lie".


"It's an absolute lie", Alkatiri told Lusa. "There is no accord and, if there is one, in the terms announced by the ABC, it would be totally against my orientations. And, thus, void".


The public silence normal from the ETG [East Timor Government] may be explained by:  "Let us negotiate at the table and not under the pressure of the media", he told Lusa.


I am heartened by Alkatiri's response to the issues, I previously called on him to stay strong despite indications his negotiating team might support signing a deal of almost any sort.


On 5th May I calculated that East Timor will get enough money from Bayu Undan [Timor Sea oil and gas fields] to last 30-40 years, so why rush a decision on Sunrise [Timor Sea oil and gas fields] which is off the boil now and not going to be delivering returns for another 10-15 years at best.  [
See: “Saving Sunrise until later” [http://www.etan.org/lh/misc/04sunrise.html ]


On 3rd May in an open letter to Jose Ramos Horta I complained that the East Timor government has asked Australian activists to change the attitude to these matters of the Australian people and Government. 


With a Howard-compliant media this has been hard, but change is occurring helped a lot by the formation of the Timor Sea Justice Campaigns [See:
http://www.TimorSeaJustice.org ] initially in Melbourne, and by the applied expertise and financial resources of Ian Melrose.  I also acknowledged that Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri may yet be 'holding the fort' on these negotiations.


On 1st May posted etan 3rd May I wrote in 'Timor Sea Skullduggery' that  information tends to come only from one side.  As usual we have to contend with information leaked from Lord Downer only.  Despite many pleas to get on the front foot, to keep supporters informed etc, the ET [East Timor] government chooses to say nothing most of the time.  Is this strategy or incompetence?  The problem is it leaves supporters in a quandry, and allows Lord Downer to create expectations in the Australian population which maybe can become self-fulfilling ... and the media just accept Downer's spin.


The strong man for East Timor fortunately is Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, not a noted communicator however.   Does he know the 'government take' from Sunrise is $40billion or maybe much more?  We just don't know.   Thought ranged against him is the camp understood to want any agreement in the short term, even if it severely disadvantages East Timor in the long term.  This camp is thought to include negotiators Jose Texeira, Peter Galbraith, and from the outside the 'Bob Hawke' of East Timor politics Jose Ramos Horta.  Horta seems to want to enhance his credentials as a peacemaker by getting an agreement whatever.


. . .



In short, there is no possibility of last week's negotiation achieving a fair deal or a good deal for East Timor, so I and many colleagues fervently hope they fail, and the East Timor people and government shows more of its legendary patience.



see Lusa attached:
East Timor: Alkatiri labels report of Timor Sea accord an 'absolute lie'


       
Rob Wesley-Smith

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

Member, Timor Sea Justice Coalition - Darwin (Northern Territory, Australia)
Home: http://www.TimorSeaJustice.org

Phone: 61 8 89832113
Mobile: 0419 807175
Email:
rwesley@ozemail.com.au



See also:

26 Mar 2005 McKee: How much is Sunrise really worth?:
The True Value of a Timor Sea Gas Resource
http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/05mar26mckee.html

Timor Sea Talks between Timor-Leste & Australia:
Dili, East Timor 26th 27th & 28th of April, 2005
http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/talks.html



Email Australia's Prime Minister Howard - Tell the Australian Government to Stop Stealing East Timor's Resources and East Timor's Future - http://www.etan.org/action/fax/faxaus.htm


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