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East Timor National NGO Forum

Caicoli Street, Dili, Timor-Leste. Tel +670-723-5063 or 7254912. Email: or

Press Release…Press Release…Press Release…Press Release…Press Release...Press Release…

26 April 2005



The results of the most recent negotiations held last March in Canberra-Australia, spoke about the establishment of a Resources Sharing Agreement or an agreement which favours a “legal framework” for a “creative solution”. The essence of this “creative solution” is that Timor-Leste will receive 5 billion American dollars from the total reserve of 30 billion American dollars in the Greater Sunrise oil field. The logic for the granting of this 5 billion dollars is that it is a “bonus” from the oil and gas exploration in the field, and that there will be no determination on the maritime border for 100 years. The Australian government is pressing for any solution that will provide a legal agreement to the Woodside company and its partners so that they can begin the exploitation of the Greater Sunrise field.

From the above information we can conclude that the Australian government is anxious about discussions regarding the Maritime Boundary and prefers to discuss the distribution of natural resources, of which we are all aware that according to international UNCLOS law, 100% of the natural resources in the Timor Sea belong to Timor-Leste.

Based on these reasons we, Timor-Leste civil society and students, those of us who are issuing this declaration, wish to convey our concerns regarding something which is of great importance to this nation. We wish to remind the two governments involved, but in particular our own government, the Government of the Republic of Timor-Leste.

Based upon what we know about the negotiations process, we demand that the Timor-Leste and Australian governments do the following:

1. Request the negotiators, who will tomorrow sit together to discuss the future of the Timorese people, to respect the sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, and to make an expeditious decision on the Median Line.

2. We ask the Australian government to return to the international dispute resolution process for maritime boundaries of the International Court for Justice and the International Court for the Law of the Sea, and

3. To cease exploration of the Laminaria-Corallina and other fields in the disputed territory, including the granting of new licences. The money obtained from the exploration of these fields should be put in a fund which can later be divided between the two countries when agreement is reached.

4. To our government Timor-Leste: we ask that you do not rush in obtaining an agreement for the exploration of Greater Sunrise; it is more important that you determine a maritine boundary and a lateral boundary based on international law, and

5. If the Australian government remains stubborn and refuses to come to a decision on the maritime boundary based upon international UNCLOS law, we ask the Timor-Leste government to return the “AusAid grant” money which the Australian government gave to Timor-Leste.

Once again, we ask that the Government of Timor-Leste assign priority to a discussion of the Maritime Boundary, rather than that of resource distribution with the Australian government, who are intent on the continuing exploitation of Timor-Leste’s resources.

For futher information please contact: Tomas Freitas,
Mobile Phone +670 7245063/3325013,

Asosiasaun HAK, La’o Hamutuk, Sahe Institute for Liberation, Asosiasaun Estudante UNTL, Asosiasaun Estudante UNDIL, ETADEP, FOKUPERS, AMKV,Dai Popular, Hasatil, Kdalak Sulimutu Institute.

see also Timor Sea, Boundaries & Oil



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