Subject: LUSA: Third Round of Timor Gap Oil Talks Ends with 'Some Progress'

East Timor: Third Round of Timor Gap Oil Talks Ends with 'Some Progress' 4 Mai-21:31

Representatives of East Timor and Australia ended Friday the third round of formal negotiations on off-shore oil resources, having made "some progress", Dili's economy minister told Lusa.

Mari Alkatiri did not provide specific details about the talks in the Australian city of Brisbane, saying that both sides had "mutually pledged not to do so".

"The meeting was better but still did not go well. It ended with progress and the scheduling of a new round later this month", he added.

The Brisbane talks followed the previous round held less than a month ago in Melbourne, which Dili criticized because Australia had completely changed and downgraded the level of its negotiating team.

Negotiations over the sharing of oil revenues and a redrawing of the maritime boundary in the offshore Timor Gap face mounting time pressures.

A spokesman for Phillips Petroleum, which operates one of the offshore concessions, said earlier this week that agreement was needed by June for planned investments, pegged at about dlrs 2 billion, to be implemented on schedule.

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