Subject: Lusa: Fund for future generations will 'safeguard' oil wealth, says PM

East Timor: Fund for future generations will 'safeguard' oil wealth, says PM

Dili, Nov. 13 (Lusa) - East Timor`s prime minister, Mari Alkatiri, reaffirmed on Thursday his government`s commitment to channel revenue from oil exploration in the Timor Sea into a Petroleum Fund for future generations of Timorese.

Alkatiri said the fund would be created after detailed consultation with international partners to ensure it had "rigorous control mechanisms" to guarantee transparency and prevent waste".

Timor`s Petroluem Fund will be based on a similar Norwegian structure and will focus on "safeguarding the real value of oil wealth", he added.

The Timorese leader`s comments came as Dili and Canberra officials begin preliminary talks on agreeing maritime borders between both nations to finally settle the ownership of vast hydrocarbon reserves beneath the Timor Sea.

The discussions, which began Wednesday, aim to establish a framework for full negotiations in 2004.

Meanwhile, both nations have agreed an interim arrangement to carve up an area of the Timor Sea and provide fiscal certainty to developers in the absence of fixed borders.

ASP/CJB -Lusa-

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