Subject: Indonesian House urged to cancel Timor Gap agreement

Petromindo, Saturday, February 10, 2001

House urged to cancel Timor Gap agreement

The House of Representatives is urged to produce a legal product to ratify the cancellation of the Timor Gap Treaty, signed by Indonesia and Australia, to explore for oil and gas in the Timor sea following the separation of East Timor from Indonesia.

According to the production sharing contractor director at the state oil and gas company Pertamina, Iin Arifin Takhyan, the cancellation of the agreement must be issued by the House as it was the House that ratified the Timor Gap agreement in late 1980s.

Iin expressed his opinion following a statement from the United Nation Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) that the Timor Gap agreement between Indonesia and Australia was illegal after the majority of East Timorese decided to separate from Indonesia through a UN-sponsored ballot in August 1999.

"I don't want to say if the Timor Gap agreement is illegal or not. But, the territory covered by the agreement was located in East Timor that has decided to stay independent from Indonesia. It means Indonesia has no interests in that area anymore," he said.

Arifin, who used to become a member of Darwin-based Joint Authority of Timor Gap from 1994 through 1998, said that Indonesia and Australia representatives needed to meet and discuss the cancellation of the agreement. After that, the House would produce a law that would ratify the cancellation.

The Timor Gap Treaty, that governed the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in the sea border between Australia and then Indonesia in Timor Sea, was signed by then Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas and his Australian counterpart Gareth Evans on Oct. 25, 1988.

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