Subject: AU: Indonesia felt cheated on borders

The Australian

December 3, 2004 Friday All-round Country Edition

Indonesia felt cheated on borders

Nigel Wilson

JOHN McCarthy, Australia's ambassador to Indonesia at the time of the Australian-led peacekeeping mission in 1999, yesterday confirmed Indonesia was critical of Australia's argument on maritime boundaries.

Earlier this week, East Timor Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta said Indonesia believed it 'had been taken to the cleaners' by Australia as a result of the 1972 maritime border agreement between the two countries.

This was one of the reasons why East Timor believed delineating a maritime boundary was not essential for the Greater Sunrise gas development to go ahead.

Mr Ramos Horta, in Australia for a Southwest Pacific Forum meeting hosted by counterpart Alexander Downer, has called on John Howard to intervene so that the project proceeds.

Woodside Petroleum says the project will stall unless East Timor approves legal and fiscal terms by the end of the year.

'Mr Downer has been insistent that only Australia's view that its boundary should be the limit of the Continental Shelf should prevail,' Mr Ramos Horta said.

'This is the same position that Australia forced Indonesia to accept in 1972 which, I am told, the Indonesians say meant they were taken to the cleaners.'

Mr McCarthy said: 'This is not news nor does Indonesia argue it was unfair but it is a matter that rankles in our relationship.'


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