Subject: TLGOV: Alkatiri voices concerns over ALP support for the International Unitisa 

Office of the Prime Minister

Friday 26 March 2004

Media Release: Prime Minister Alkatiri voices concerns over ALP support for the International Unitisation Agreement bill.

Prime Minister Alkatiri is concerned by comments made in the Australian Senate on Wednesday 24 March claiming he has no concerns about ALP support for the International Unitisation Agreement (IUA) bill which is currently before Australian Parliament.

Prime Minister Alkatiri said today I clearly voiced my concerns regarding the IUA bill, and consider that the Australian actions and statements in regard to the IUA undermine the prospects for its approval by the Timor-Leste National Parliament. These actions are the unilateral issuance of licenses, by Australia, in an area of the Greater Sunrise field described as a disputed area in the text of the IUA. There are Australian statements that claim that this area is an area of sole Australian jurisdiction . This is categorically incorrect.

The Timor-Leste Government is committed to adhere to its obligations in regard to agreements entered into however the process of the ratification of the IUA by the Timor-Leste National Parliament would be made easier if Australia was acting in accordance with international law.

Prime Minister Alkatiri further said: There is widespread lack of support for the IUA in Timor-Leste. The facts that Australia is issuing licenses in disputed areas; has not committed to a timeframe to determine our maritime boundaries; claims to have insufficient resources to enter into more than bi-annual meetings to negotiate our boundaries; has withdrawn from the International Court of Justice on maritime boundaries and continues to exploit the Laminaria, Corallina and Buffalo oil fields which lie in an area of sea claimed by Timor-Leste and which are nearing the end of their lives despite our official objections, does not help Timor-Leste s trust in Australia to abide by any legally binding agreement entered into.

If permanent maritime boundaries were agreed expeditiously and in accordance with international law, many of these issues would dissolve.

Media enquiries: Paul Cleary +61 431 055 584 (Australia)

Paul Cleary Communications director Timor Sea Office Office of the Prime Minister PO Box 149 Dili, TIMOR-LESTE Ph. +670 723 4151

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