Subject: ABC: East Timor to look further afield in gas dispute

ABC

East Timor to look further afield in gas dispute

Thursday, 16 June 2005. 14:08 (AEST)

An East Timorese activist is warning East Timor will look for other energy companies to work with, if Woodside insists on building a gas pipeline to Darwin in the Northern Territory.

Tomas Freitas from the Movement Against The Occupation of the Timor Sea says he has met with the country's Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri.

Mr Freitas says negotiations for a deal over gas reserves in the Timor Sea are far from finalised.

Australia reached a draft agreement with East Timor in mid-May.

After that round of talks, Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer said there probably would not be any need for any further negotiations.

But Mr Freitas says Mr Alkatiri wants to talk further about maritime boundaries.

He says Mr Alkitiri was clear that the pipeline must go to East Timor, and if it did not, the country would find a new business partner.

"The Prime Minister said if the Woodside company wants to pull out of the Greater Sunrise, he can ask many of the companies from around the world to come into Timor to do some gas," he said.

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Last Updated 16/06/2005, 13:02:00

An East Timorese activist says negotiations with Australia for a deal over gas reserves in the Timor Sea are far from finalised.

Thomas Freitas, from the Movement Against the Occupation of the East Timor Sea, says East Timor's prime minister, Mari Alkatiri, wants to talk further about maritime boundaries.

"Negotiations about the maritime boundaries should be continued ...like every six months, talking about maritime boundary," he said.

"That's what we [would] like. And also, we want the pipeline to come to Timor.

"That's ... our position, the prime minister's position, at the moment."

In May, Australia said it had reached agreement on the joint exploitation of oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea.

Under the agreement, the issue of permanent maritime boundaries was set aside for 50 years.

The foreign minister, Alexander Downer, said the deal would give East Timor half the revenue from the Greater Sunrise field, which he said could be worth up to $US3.8 billion to Dili.


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