Subject: E Timor, UN Leaders Discuss Timor Gap Oil, Gas Revenues

also: US Holbrooke Traveling To Portugal To Discuss Timor

Associated Press February 11, 2000

E Timor, UN Leaders Discuss Timor Gap Oil, Gas Revenues

DILI, East Timor (AP)--U.N. administrators and East Timor independence leaders are discussing what to do with millions of dollars from undersea oil and gas reserves between the half-island territory and Australia, a U.N. official said Friday.

Australia announced Thursday that East Timor had formally replaced Indonesia as its partner in a treaty that shares resources in the Timor Gap region beneath the Timor Sea.

The zone has only one small oil field producing about US$1.9 million to US$3.2 million in revenue a year. However, a new field is expected to earn tens of millions of dollars within the next few years.

East Timor was devastated by anti-independence forces after its people voted to break away from Indonesian rule last year, and the territory desperately needs money for reconstruction.

Manuel de Almeida, a spokesman for East Timor's transitional U.N. administration, said revenue from the Timor Gap would be placed in a trust fund.

He said U.N. and independence officials were discussing whether to use some of those funds now or to wait until East Timor becomes independent within two or three years.

The Timor Gap treaty was signed by Australia and Indonesia in 1989.

Indonesia, which occupied East Timor in 1975, has agreed that it is no longer a party to the agreement following East Timor's vote for independence.

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Associated Press February 10, 2000

US Holbrooke Traveling To Portugal To Discuss Timor

UNITED NATIONS (AP)--U.S. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who has taken a keen interest in East Timor since visiting the territory last year, travels to Portugal next week to discuss the new U.N. peacekeeping operation in the former Portuguese colony.

Holbrooke will visit Lisbon from Feb. 16-20, a statement from the U.S. mission said Thursday.

A U.N. peacekeeping force is under deployment in East Timor, replacing Australian-led peace keepers who restored calm in the territory after its vote for independence from Indonesia on Aug. 30.

Pro-Indonesian militias went on a looting and killing rampage to protest the vote results, destroying most of East Timor and driving tens of thousands of refugees into neighboring Indonesian-held West Timor.

Holbrooke, who visited Indonesia and East Timor in November, has demanded Indonesia do more to allow the refugees to either return home or resettle elsewhere in Indonesia. And he has warned that pressure on the government to accept an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for atrocities will only increase if it doesn't seek justice itself.

During his visit, Holbrooke is expected to raise other U.N. issues. Portugal currently holds the rotating European Union presidency.


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