Subject: Timor-Leste Local Media Monitoring March 4, 2004
Timor-Leste International and Local Media Monitoring March 4, 2004
East Timor PM denies accepting oil bribes East Timor's prime minister, Mari Alkatiri, has denied he accepted bribes to secure the exploration interests of oil giant ConocoPhillips in the Timor Sea. An american oil company, Oceanic Exploration, has alleged ConocoPhillips paid Mr Alkatiri about $US2.5 million in cash bribes to secure its investments in the Timor Sea. Oceanic made the allegations in a lawsuit in Washington against ConocoPhillips, Australia and Indonesia - all of whom it accuses of conspiring to steal its right to develop Timor sea oil and gas. However, Mr Alkatiri has denied he ever took bribes from ConocoPhillips or any party, and says he regards the allegations as far-fetched and frivolous. The East Timorese leader says it is his personal mission to build his nation on principles of integrity, honesty and transparency. He says he is considering legal action in response to the allegations. East Timor's foreign minister, Jose Ramos-Horta, has described the bribery allegations against Mr Alkatiri as absolute nonsense. He says his government will vigorously defend the prime minister. "It really is an aggression against the dignity, the integrity of a government leader, of an individual, whom I know very well for more than 30 years," Dr Ramos-Horta said. "I know that it's absolutely nonsense, absolutely a lie and they will have to prove it," he said.
ABC Radio Australia
Wiranto says there is life after Golkar Retired Indonesian General Wiranto says he'll become a farmer if his bid to contest the presidential election fails. The former armed forces chief says he won't have a problem if the Golkar party doesn't select him as its candidate. General Wiranto is one of six hopefuls seeking the party's nomination for the country's first direct presidential election on July 5. Analysts say Golkar chief, Akbar Tanjung, is strongly placed to secure the nomination after winning an appeal against a graft conviction last month. General Wiranto has been indicted in East Timor for crimes against humanity during the territory's bloody breakaway from Indonesia in 1999. East Timorese prosecutors accuse the general of failing to punish or prevent crimes committed by those under his control.
East Timor: PM Alkatiri denies US oil firm's bribery allegation East Timor`s prime minister, Mari Alkatiri, said Wednesday that he "categorically denies" allegations by an American oil company that a rival firm bribed him to get rights to develop hydrocarbon reserves in the Timor Sea. Oceanic Exploration has launched a multi-billion lawsuit against Indonesia, Australia and the oil giant Conoco Phillips, claiming its subsidiary, PetroTimor, was granted exclusive rights by Portugal before Jakarta`s 1975 invasion of Timor to develop the reserves. The US firm wants up to USD 30 billion compensation, claiming it was illegally deprived of its rights and that Conoco Phillips conspired with the Jakarta and Canberra governments to seize control of the oil deposits. Conoco Phillips leads the consortium that is developing the Bayan Undan gas field, expected to generate annual receipts of USD 100 million for Dili over the next 20 years. In the US-lodged case, Oceanic accuses its rival of bribing Indonesian and Timorese officials to secure its control of Bayan Undan. Mari Alkatiri was bribed with at least USD 2.5 million in cash, the American firm alleges. The US company lost a similar case against Australia last year. "I did nor receive bribes from Conoco Phillips or anybody else. I consider these allegations as false and frivolous", Alkatiri said in a statement sent to Lusa. "Timor is the world's newest nation and one of its poorest. Such charges occur at a very difficult moment that is crucial for the country`s development". Alkatiri said corruption could ruin Timor's future, by calling into question the integrity and transparency of its leaders. He added that he was preparing a libel case against Oceanic.
Alleging 30 years of corruption For a little known, family controlled company with $US3 million in assets, Ocean Exploration is certainly prepared to make a lot of noise. It is a subsidiary of General Atomics, a San Diego-based uranium operation set-up by General Dynamics in 1956 and subsequently owned by Chev-ron before being acquired by the family of Neal Blue. Its current chairman, in 1986. GA is involved in high-tech nuclear energy for the defence industry in the US and Germany as well in energy activities in Kansas and Calgary. Oceanic Exploration is described in the US trade press as a small international oil company that discovered the Prinos oil field in offshore Greece. But without a doubt its biggest contingent asset is its Timor Sea claim. Portuguese offshoot PetroTimor claims rights to oil and gas in virtually the entire joint Petroleum Development area set-up by Australia and East Timor in 2002, based on a 1974 contract with Portugal, its claims are not recognized by any government. East Timor doesn't because it wants rapid development of the Timor Sea oil and gas reserves so that it can received an income stream through the taxes and charges it places on developers such as ConocoPhillips at Bayu-Undan and Woodside at Greater Sunrise. Neither does Australia because the PetroTimor claim would also include the Laminaria/Corallina oil field which has been Australia's largest producer in recent years, which may leave the government liable for revenue it has already received. Oceanic Exploration and PetroTimor have been pushing their claim publicly since Indonesian troops were withdrawn from East Timor in 1999. The claim was originally couched in terms of getting a better deal for the East Timorese by having Timor Sea oil and gas processed in East Timor rather than in Australia. But a legal action in the Federal Court failed last year when the court ruled it had no jurisdiction. Oceanic has made no bones about the moral certitude of its case but it is surely lifting the bar to a very high level by alleging virtually everyone involved in East Timor in the past 30 years has been corrupt in perverting its rights.
National Parliament only think for themselves An Ex-commander of Falintil, Ernesto Fernandes, said that members of National Parliament only think of themselves instead of considering other people's suffering. He said that many people are still suffering from the war like widows, orphans. He said the Parliamentarians don't seem to care about this. Mr Fernandes said that if members of the National Parliament only look after themselves, then those rights were fought for in the struggle?
Women need a national day, says Mikato The Advisor for Gender and Equality in the Prime Minister Office, Maria Domingas Fernandes, said that Timor-Leste still does not have a national day for Timorese women. She said that after the national congress a report will be presented to the National Parliament to debate and a decision will be made on a national day for women.
400 children without school in Babore A Member of the National parliament, Pedro da Costa, said that in February he raised the issue of 400 children in Babore in the District of Viqueque who have no school. He said that so far the Government has not taken any action. He said that the Government does not think about the children's future.
PNTL are not professional yet, says Martins The National Police Commissioner, Paulo de Fatima Martins, said that he would be lying to himself if he said that the National Police Force of Timor-Leste are all professionals. He said that he acknowledges that the 3 month training that the police received is not enough, and thus they cannot be considered professionals. Mr Martins said that he can guarantee that the police force will be professional in 20 years time. He said some police are receiving training abroad, which will raise local standards.
F-FDTL needs to show their professionalism, says Ruak The commander of F-FDTL Brigadier General, Taur Matan Ruak, said that the members of F-FDTL need to serve the army with loyalty and professionalism, like the Brazilian troops have shown during in the UN mission. He said that the Brazilian army has shown professionalism, integrity and dedication when performing their duties.
Government of Australia donates books for library The Australian Government has donated books to the library of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. The Ambassador of Australia in Timor-Leste, Paul Foley, said that with the donation of the books for the Department of Foreign Affairs shows that Australia Government has a clear commitment within the region and to Timor-Leste. Mr Foley said that since 200 the Government of Australia has contributed with USD$ 2,6 billion to the development of Timor-Leste and will continue with its support in developing this country.
Australian Government cautious on East Timor oil claim The Australian government reacted cautiously to court action by a small US petroleum company that is seeking US$10.5 billion in damages over its alleged oil and gas rights in the Timor Sea. A Spokeswoman for the Australian government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said she understands that a civil suit has been filled in the US courts by Oceanic. "Oceanic Exploration's Timorese subsidiary Petrotimor last initiated and failed in an action against the commonwealth (government) in the Australian Federal Court in 2002," the spokeswoman told Dow Jones Newswire. "Petrotimor did not pursue an appeal to the High Court." "After failing in the Australian courts, Oceanic exploration is looking to other overseas jurisdictions in an attempt to have its claims heard," the spokeswoman said. The Indonesian government declined to comment on the lawsuit while a spokesman for the East Timor government couldn't be contacted.
Vox Populi (New Weekly Newspaper)
We've been pressing Australia for negotiations In an interview with the Executive Director Timor Sea Designated Authority, Einar Risa, he said that so far, it has not been possible to get an agreement on a maritime boundary with Australia, or with Indonesia to determine ownership of oil and gas in the Timor Sea. He said that sooner or later, there would be an agreed boundary. Mr Risa said that it is difficult to say when the boundary will be defined. He said: "we (Timor Sea Designated Authority) would like it to go very fast, but the Australians seem to be dragging their feet". He said that Australia is a bigger country and thus they wield more power than Timor Leste.
Australia's theft of East Timor's oil and natural gas resources East Timor has repeatedly asked the Australian government to expeditiously negotiate a permanent maritime boundary in good faith within three to five years. If an agreement cannot be negotiated soon the article says, East Timor should have the right to pursue impartial legal arbitration; international mechanisms have been established for this purpose. In a land of intense poverty, this theft of resources from East Timor is not only a critical economic issue, it is also an issue of self-determination and national sovereignty. East Timor feels that Australia is trampling on their newly-won independence, which came at a great cost.
The Government does not have clear views yet on border lines, says Carrascalão The President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Mario Viegas Carrascalao, said that until now, the Government of Timor-Leste has not been able to define a border or aerial space between Timor-Leste, Indonesai and Australia. He said that the evidence is clear when looked at the dispute between Australia and Timor-Leste over the Timor Sea resources where the maritime boundaries are not resolved.
TL Government needs to solve the dispute, says Araujo The President of the National Timorese Party (PNT), Abilio de Araujo, said that the Government of Timor-Leste needs to quickly solve the maritime boundary with the Government of Australia. He said that the Government of Timor-Leste should use all international mechanisms available. Mr de Araujo said that the only new thing he sees in the agreement is the replacement of Indonesia in favor of Timor-Leste. He said that the exploration accord signed between Australia and Indonesia in 1989 is virtually the same accord still in use today. Mr de Araujo said that until now nothing is clear. He asks and how much will the Timor Leste Government get from the Timor Sea revenues?
Jose Filipe External Affairs World Bank, Dili Office Ph: 723 0554 Tel: 332 4649 Email: email@example.com
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