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Justice for East Timor in Oil & Gas Negotiations06 July 2005
Following requests from our partners and human rights organisations in East Timor (now officially called Timor-Leste), Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, along with Australian unions, churches and development agencies, supports campaigning on the issue of East Timor’s just share of the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea.
After six rounds of talks, Australia is now pressuring East Timor to settle for a deal that would suspend permanent boundary negotiations for at least 50 years, in exchange for a 50/50 split of the Greater Sunrise gas field profits.
"From the beginning the Australian Government has approached this entire issue with bullying tactics. It's now trying to force East Timor's hand over very important details of the current proposal," said Tom Clarke, coordinator of the Timor Sea Justice Campaign.
Despite claims by the Australian government and media that an agreement has been reached, the people of East Timor and Prime Minister Alkatiri have serious concerns suspending permanent maritime boundary negotiations. However, while the Timorese wish to define their boundaries according to international law, the immediate funds from petroleum development are crucial to the country's welfare.
"For us, a 20-year negotiation is not an option. Timor-Leste loses $1 million a day due to Australia's unlawful exploitation of resources in the disputed area." (Timor-Leste Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri 29 April 2005)
In an impoverished country just three years old, East Timor's right to control its own natural resources is critical to the health and development of the nation. Union Aid Abroad supports the Timor Sea Justice Campaign in demanding that Australia:
· Stop unilaterally exploiting contested gas and oil resources in the Timor Sea.
For background information on this issue please click here.
For more information on the Timor Sea Justice Campaign see www.timorseajustice.org.
Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA
Ph: (02) 9264 9343
Fax: (02) 9261 1118
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