Subject: AFP: East Timor resistance stakes claim to Timor Gap oil
Date: Mon, 27 Jul 1998 11:32:22 +1300
From: sonny inbaraj <firstname.lastname@example.org> Organization: The AustralAsian
East Timor resistance stakes claim to its share of Timor Gap oil Sat, 25 Jul 1998 1:41:44 PDT Agence France-Presse
JAKARTA, July 25 (AFP) - East Timor resistance leaders have called on foreign oil companies which will soon start drawing oil from waters around the territory to give part of the proceeds to the East Timorese people.
The National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT), in a communique delivered to AFP here Friday, said it supported the "rights of the existing East Timor Gap contractors, and those of the Australian government to jointly develop East Timor's offshore oil reserves with the People of East Timor."
But it called on Canberra and the oil companies involved to "review their past assumptions and face current realities," including the political changes in post-Suharto Indonesia with "improved prospects" for a peaceful settlement of the East Timor problem.
East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, was invaded by Indonesian troops in 1975, and annexed a year later.
The companies drilling in the Elang Kakatua field, BHP, Santos, Petroz and Inpex Sahul, announced a few days ago that they were ready to start production.
According to an agreement between Australia and Indonesia, the CNRT said, Jakarta should reap some 130 million dollars in royalties and tax revenues from the oil recovered over the next four or five years.
Calling the money going to the Indonesian government "an act of international theft in collusion with the Australian government," it said the funds should be "placed in a special trust fund for the People of East Timor" by the Timor Gap Joint Authority.
The CNRT statement also took pains to say it would "endeavor to show the Australian government and the Timor gap contractors that their commercial interests will not be adversely affected by East Timorese self-determination."
The Elang Kakatua field has estimated reserves of 300 million barrels of oil and gas reserves equivalent to 900 million barrels of oil.
It is being exploited under a joint agreement between Australia, one of the few countries to recognize Indonesia's sovereignty over East Timor, and Indonesia.
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