Subject: LUSA: Ahead of oil talks, MEPs urge Canberra to respect Dili's rights

14-09-2004 21:19:00 GMT . Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-6352070 Temas:

East Timor: Ahead of oil talks, MEPs urge Canberra to respect Dili's rights

Strasbourg, Sept. 14 (Lusa) - Several dozen members of the European Parliament called Tuesday for Australia to respect impoverished East Timor`s right to benefit from offshore hydrocarbon reserves.

Negotiations are set to resume this month between the two countries on their contentious maritime boundary and the division of oil and gas reserves.

Two petitions signed by 37 MEPs called for a "just and speedy accord to give Timor resources it is entitled to in order to ensure its development" and were sent to Prime Minister John Howard and deputies in the Canberra Senate Talks on the Timor Sea carve up between Dili and Canberra became deadlocked earlier this year, with Australia insisting that the existing border, drawn up with Indonesia during Jakarta`s occupation of Timor, be used.

Dili says that the frontier should be re-drawn to a midpoint between the two nations to boost its share of oil receipts and break its foreign aid dependency.

Foreign ministers from both nations said in August that they expected a final agreement on the disputed oil reserves by the end of the year.

Oil companies have threatened to pull out of Timor Sea projects if political squabbling continues into 2005.


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