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BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor

Timor Oil - East Timorese Position Statements
Hahesuk kona ba Timor nia Mina
Minyak di Timor: pernyataan
O Petróleo de Timor: os afirmaçãos

Action to return East Timor's oil and gas resources.

Up-Dated: 27 Apr 2004
Return to Main Contents: BD: The 2004 TIMOR OIL Collection
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26 Apr 2005 ETNGOs: Timor Society demands fair median line
Press release added 27 Apr 2005
"Based upon what we know about the negotiations process, we demand that the Timor-Leste and Australian governments do the following:
1.    Request the negotiators, who will tomorrow sit together to discuss the future of the Timorese people, to respect the sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, and to make an expeditious decision on the Median Line.
2.    We ask the Australian government to return to the international dispute resolution process for maritime boundaries of the International Court for Justice and the International Court for the Law of the Sea, and
3.    To cease exploration of the Laminaria-Corallina and other fields in the disputed territory, including the granting of new licences. The money obtained from the exploration of these fields should be put in a fund which can later be divided between the two countries when agreement is reached.
4.    To our government Timor-Leste: we ask that you do not rush in obtaining an agreement for the exploration of Greater Sunrise; it is more important that you determine a maritine boundary and a lateral boundary based on international law, and
5.    If the Australian government remains stubborn and refuses to come to a decision on the maritime boundary based upon international UNCLOS law, we ask the Timor-Leste government to return the "AusAid grant" money which the Australian government gave to Timor-Leste.
Once again, we ask that the Government of Timor-Leste assign priority to a discussion of the Maritime Boundary, rather than that of resource distribution with the Australian government, who are intent on the continuing exploitation of Timor-Leste's resources.
" 11 East Timorese NGOs

16 Dec 2004 RN: East Timor ups ante in oil and gas fight
Interview added 17 Dec 2004
"If the negotiations completely break down we certainly talk with friends around the world, not only Hollywood but politicians, intellectuals, academics, normal people in the streets, in Australia and around the world. ... Australia will have to explain why it refuses to accept jurisdiction on the international court of justice. ... We have tremendous international support, the European Union, Commonwealth countries, Non Align Movement, I do not know of a single country that is not sympathetic to East Timorese situation." Jose Ramos Horta, Foreign Minister of East Timor

29 Nov 2004 ABC: Australia-ET relations at historic low: Horta
Interview added 2 Dec 2004
"... we have to go to the International Court of Justice, the United Nations General Assembly to request a non-binding adviser opinion on the whole issue [of oil and gas in the Timor Sea]. ... [if Australia refuses to be bound by it] it would be very damaging to Australia's international credibility, it would really weaken Australian stance regionally, it would be seen by the rest of the world as such a rich, powerful country bullying the poorest country, one of the poorest countries in the world." Jose Ramos Horta, Foreign Minister of East Timor

3 Nov 2004
Age: PM Alkatiri: All East Timor seeks is a fair go 
Statement added 5 Nov 2004
"In last week's talks, we were willing to defer our right to the delimitation of a maritime boundary ... In seeking this solution, we are not simply looking for the Australian Government to write a cheque or to hand out quasi-aid for an extended period. We want an outcome that underpins our national development. One element of a fair settlement that should be given full consideration is to pipe the Greater Sunrise gas the much shorter distance to a processing plant on East Timor's shores. ... It is perfectly reasonable for the government of one of the world's poorest nations to seek an outcome that directly tackles its great need for economic development. Darwin already has one LNG plant to process gas from the Timor Sea, which is why one fair outcome would be to put the second LNG plant in East Timor." Timor-Leste Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, Timor Sea Office

27 Oct 2004 ET NGO Forum: Timor-Leste Civil Society Demands Fair Maritime Boundary 
Media Release added 3 Nov 2004

"Civil Society Organizations in Timor-Leste have followed the negotiation process concerning Timor Sea oil, held in Canberra and Darwin, Australia, last month. ... We strongly urge the government of Timor-Leste to give priority to the Maritime Boundary discussions rather than negotiating the division of resources with a government that is stealing natural resources that rightfully belong to Timor-Leste."
HAK Association, Haburas Foundation, La’o Hamutuk, Sahe Institute for Liberation (SIL), Kdalak Sulimutu Institute (KSI), Timor-Leste Community Radio Association (ARKTL), Judicial System Monitoring Program, KSTL, LAIFET, FOKUPERS, Forum Tau Matan (FTM), Timor-Leste Students Association.

27 Oct 2004 TSO: PM Alkatiri statement on failure of talks 
Media Release added 5 Nov 2004
"We put forward a range of options that would address these various elements of a resolution to our dispute. What the Australian Government delegation was willing to offer and explore did not come even close to recognizing our sovereign rights in the disputed areas. We were talking about Timor-Leste participation in the development of the disputed resources; they were talking about money.  We were too far apart to reach agreement." Timor-Leste Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, Timor Sea Office

29 Sep 2004 ET NGO Forum: Timor-Leste Civil Society Demands Fair Boundary 
Media Release added 30 Sep 2004
"Civil society and people in Timor-Leste ... continue to follow the negotiations between our government and Australia with great interest. ... the issues being discussed in Darwin this week are among the most important for the future of our nation. ... we urge Australia to ... :
1. Respect the national sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, ...
2. ... 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. ... Our rights are based on international law and moral principles, not on Australian public opinion polls. ...
5. Respect Timor-Leste’s right to develop our resources on a timetable that is best for our people. ...
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, ..."
HAK Association, Haburas Foundation, La’o Hamutuk (East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis), FOKUPERS, 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.

Aug-Sep 2004 TSO: Maritime Boundary Dispute
Speech added
11 Sep 2004
"It is Timor-Leste’s position that Australia must honor the IUA [International Unitization Agreement] if Timor-Leste is to ratify it. What does this involve? The IUA will not be ratified by Timor-Leste until Australia abides by the relevant rules of international law applicable in the relations between the parties.
* This requires Australia to:
-- commit to a satisfactory time frame for negotiations,
-- after which either party will be able to seek resolution of the maritime boundary dispute before a neutral international mechanism, should agreement not have been reached.
* Further, Australia will have to:
-- cease unilateral activity in disputed areas in accordance with diplomatic correspondence from Timor-Leste, or
-- take adequate interim measures (e.g. placing revenues in escrow) to preserve Timor-Leste’s rights in these areas pending resolution of the dispute." Manuel de Lemos, Asst Coordinator, Timor Sea Office, Office of the Timor-Leste Prime Minister

16 Aug 2004 AU: 'Resource Curse' Holds No Fears for Newest Petro-Economy
updated 22 Aug 2004
" ... we have demonstrated that we are capable of managing more substantial oil and gas revenue. ... And having lately become the world's newest petro-economy, we are already fully apprised of the dangers of the "resource curse", the need to manage these resources in an open and accountable way." Jose Ramos Horta, Foreign Minister of East Timor
"La'o Hamutuk has a less rosy view regarding the "resource curse", which you can read on the LH website at " Charles Scheiner, staff member of LH

CIITT 2004 Statement on the Timor Gap Treaty
Statement added
5 Aug 2004
"Politically, the May 2002 Agreement potentially jeopardises the sovereignty of East Timor, as we will be losing territory in the Timor Sea outside the zone of co-operation for the development of oil and gas resources. ... [it] denies East Timor access to four oil and gas fields (79.9% of Greater Sunrise, 100% of Corallina, Laminaria and the Buffalo). ... [it] has not provided for a fair participation of Timorese workforce. ... The construction of a more costly gas pipeline to Northern Territory instead of one to Timor is another example of the irrational economic decision made to date." Independent Centre for Information on the Timor Sea

20 May 2004 MKOTT: Solidarity with Australians for Timor Sea Justice 
Statement added
24 Jul 2004
"We realize that it will take a bi-national campaign, in both East Timor and Australia, to change the position of your government. We therefore welcome and highly appreciate the endeavors of Australian people joining the Timor Sea Justice Campaign to support us in the second anniversary of our restoration of independence. As in 1999, when thousands of people in Australia and around the world took to the streets to urge the government to dispatch the Australian soldiers to Timor-Leste, we now once again rely to you to change Australia's position and support justice for the people of Timor-Leste." Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea

19 Apl 2004 MKOTT: Timor Sea Occupation 
Press Release page updated 24 Jul 2004

"[We] urge the Australian government to: 1. Respect our independent and sovereign state. ... 2. Negotiate a fair maritime boundary ... according to contemporary legal principles as expressed in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ... 3. Rejoin the maritime boundary dispute resolution mechanisms of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the International Court of Justice ... 4. Stop issuing new exploration licenses in seabed territory that is closer to Timor-Leste than to Australia ... 5. Deposit all revenues received by the Australian government ... from fields that are closer to Timor-Leste than they are to Australia into an escrow account. ... Australia has already received more than $1 billion U.S. dollars from Laminaria-Corallina and other fields since 1999, which should also be put into escrow." Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea

14 Apl 2004 MKOTT: Timor Sea Occupation 
page updated 24 Jul 2004
"The Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea was formed in Dili, East Timor in April 2004 to help the Australian government and people better understand how people in East Timor feel about Australia’s violations of our rights, occupation of our maritime territory, theft of our resources, and denial of our nationhood. We include NGOS, individuals, and other parts of East Timor’s civil society." Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea  (incl. La’o Hamutuk, HAK Association, Haburas Foundation, NGO Forum, Mirror for the People (LABEH), Timor-Leste Agriculture and Development Foundation (ETADEP), Labor Advocacy Institute for Timor-Leste (LAIFET), Sah’e Institute for Liberation, KSI, ARI, Proletariat Group, Sustainable Agriculture Network (HASATIL), Arte Moris, Timor-Leste Socialist Labor (SBST), Timor-Leste Labor Union Confederation (KSTL), Independent Center for Timor Sea Information (CIITT), Association of Men Against Violence (AMKV), Bibi Bulak, Student organizations

26 Jan 2004 CIITT: Timor Sea & Australia Day 
Statement updated 4 Aug 2004

" ... Such attitude reflects Australia’s politics of double standard in its recognition of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of RDTL, and is a denial of the right of the East Timorese to use their resources to develop as an independent nation. The Government of Australia commits this shameless action just as East Timor is catching up on its development, after centuries of colonial obstruction." CIITT - Independent Center for Timor Sea Information

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