Subject: AN: TImor Gap Treaty Renegotiation to Be Discussed in Kupang

TIMOR GAP TREATY RENEGOTIATION ASPIRATION TO BE DISCUSSSED IN KUPANG

October 10, 2003 11:11pm Antara

Kupang, Oct 10 (ANTARA) - A local community group fighting for the renegotiation of the Indonsian-Australian treaty on the Timor Gap, the Inonesian Foreign Ministry and the House of Representatives (DPR) Commission VIII (mining and energy) are soon to meet in Kupang to discuss the group's aspiration in depth, a spokesman for the group said here.

The Foreign Ministry and the House's Comission VIII had recognized that talks between Indonesia, Australia and East Timor on the Timor Gap Treaty should be held as soon as possible, Ferdi Tanoni, chairman of the East Timor Gap and Pulau Pasir (Ashmore Reef) Working Group said here Friday.

Tanoni spoke to the press after meeting with East Nusa Tenggara Governor Piet A. Tallo to whom he had reported the results of meetings his group held in Jakarta with Foreign Ministry officials and House Commission VIII members recently.

"We reported the results of our recent meetings with relevant institutions in Jakarta to the governor," he said.

According to him, the Foreign Ministry had "softened its stance" after getting explanations about the rights of Timor's people living in the western part of East Nusa Tenggara province and the country's traditional fishermen to Pulau Pasir (Ashmore Reef) and deposits of oil and gas in the Timor Gap.

He said the task force, the ministry and the comission would hold a meeting here in the near future to discuss the issues in greater detail.

He said the issues could not only be tackled by one House comission only since they had international dimensions and involved Indonesia's national interest.

"The lead in this matter should be taken by the House's Comission I which deals with defence, information and foreign affairs," Tanoni said.

He added that the governor had expressed his support to the planned meeting.

East Timor which was the 27th province of Indonesia gained independence after a UN-organized ballot in August in 1999.

It declared its independence in May last year.

However, no talks had been held about the land and sea boundaries between Indonesia and East Timor after its independence and also about the Timor Gap agreement signed by the Indonesian and Australian governments in December 1989.

(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)


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