Subject: Australia Prepares to Formally Exclude Indonesia from Timor Gap

Also: Indonesia plans sea boundary talks with Australia

18 Feb 00 13:50

East Timor: Australia Prepares to Formally Exclude Indonesia from Timor Gap

Dili, Feb. 18 (Lusa) - Action by the Australian parliament yet this week will formally exclude Indonesia from the Timor Gap Treaty, which governs joint offshore oil exploration in the sea separating Timor from Australia. The Canberra parliament was preparing Friday to vote new legislation to sideline Jakarta from the bilateral treaty, after the recent signing in Dili of a protocol of understanding between Australia and East Timor's UN transitional administration (UNTAET). "UNTAET, acting in the name of East Timor, has agreed to assume the rights and responsibilities previously assumed by Indonesia in the context of the Timor Gap Treaty", Australian Industry and Resources Minister Warren Entsch told parliament Friday. More than euros 455 million have been spent on oil exploration and infrastructures in the region since implementation of the bilateral treaty began in 1991. Economists have estimated that oil revenues could represent up to half of East Timor's future government budgets.

SAS -Lusa-


Agence France Presse
February 18, 2000, Friday

Indonesia plans sea boundary talks with Australia JAKARTA, Feb 18

The Indonesian government wants to hold talks on its sea boundaries with Australia following the separation of East Timor from Indonesia, Mines and Energy Minister Susilo Bambang Susilo Yudhoyono was reported Friday as saying.

The Jakarta Post quoted Yudhoyono as saying the sea boundaries should be redefined to take into account the exploration of oil and gas under the Timor Gap treaty, which has been transferred to the United Nations.

"The termination of the Timor Gap treaty should be followed (by talks) as to how we should determine the sea boundaries between the two countries," Yudhoyono said.

He said Indonesia and Australia were currently negotiating the allocation of Timor Gap profits generated before Indonesia let go of East Timor in September of last year. Compensation for retrenched Indonesian workers in the Timor Gap was also under discussion, he said.

On February 11 the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) was appointed to replace Indonesia as Australia's new partner for oil and gas mining in the Timor Gap which lies in the sea between the two countries.

The two sides agreed to abide by the terms of the original treaty signed between Indonesia and Australia in 1989 to jointly explore for oil and gas in the area.

In talks in Jakarta early this month, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the Indonesian government had agreed that, following the separation of East Timor from Indonesia, the zone included in the present Timor Gap Treaty was outside Indonesia's territorial jurisdiction.

"This also means that the Timor Gap Treaty signed by Indonesia and Australia became null and void the moment the Indonesian government officially handed over East Timor to the United Nations," Downer said then.


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