Subject: LUSA: Australia Trying 'Blackmail' in Timor Gap Talks - Dili Negotiator

East Timor: Australia Trying 'Blackmail' in Timor Gap Talks - Dili Negotiator 19 Abr-14:34

Dili will not back off its demands for a redrawing of maritime frontiers and the lion's share of oil revenues in negotiations with Australia over a revision of the Timor Gap Treaty, East Timor's chief negotiator said Thursday, charging Canberra with "blackmail".

"We will show the Australians that the principal resource of the Timorese is creative capacity and patience", Mari Alkatiri, Dili's economy minister, told Lusa.

Alkatiri was reacting to Australian newspaper reports that Canberra was preparing to adopt a tougher stance in the third round of negotiations, which are expected in early May at a still undetermined venue.

If Australia were to defend a 60-40 percent revenue split in Dili's favor, as reported, "They can keep all of it because they have already offered more and are now going backwards", Alkatiri said.

Canberra's complete change of negotiating team in the last round of talks earlier this month appeared to indicate a change of stance, he said, charging that Australia was attempting "blackmail" because "they know time is short and we need this money desperately to develop the country".

Without detailing Dili's negotiating stance, Alkatiri said his team would "not backtrack" from its positions on revision of the 1989 Timor Gap accord between Jakarta and Canberra, which favored Australia, one of the few world powers to recognize Indonesia's forcible annexation of East Timor.

Dili has demanded a redrawing of maritime frontiers along equidistant lines, which would place the offshore oil fields within in its waters, and up to 90 percent of oil revenues - a sum estimated to be potentially worth dlrs 100 million per year over 20 years.

SAS -Lusa-

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