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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 the 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 adhering to its obligations in regard to agreements entered into however the process of the ratification of the IUA by 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claims to have insufficient resources to enter into more than bi-annual meetings to negotiate our boundaries; has withdrawn from the International Court of Justice on maritime boundaries and continues to exploit the Laminaria, Corallina and Buffalo oil fields which lie in an area of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”.

CONTACT: Paul Cleary +61431 055 584; Zoe Cottew +670 723 4156 

The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o Hamutuk)
Institutu Timor-Leste ba Analiza no Monitor ba Dezenvolvimentu
Rua D. Alberto Ricardo, Bebora, Dili, Timor-Leste
P.O. Box 340, Dili, Timor-Leste
Tel: +670-3321040 or +670-77234330
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