Subject: ABC: ET PM questions Canberra's veracity in oil talks

E-Timor PM questions Canberra's veracity in oil talks

East Timor's Prime Minister says Australia needs to stop linking ratification of the Timor Sea Treaty to negotiations about the larger Greater Sunrise gas field.

Fiona Churchman reports.

"Mari Alkatiri says he has a bad feeling about the Federal Parliament delaying the ratification of the international treaty covering oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea."

"He says Australia and East Timor signed a memorandum of understanding last year stating the ratification of the treaty has no link to a unitisation agreement for the Greater Sunrise field."

"Mr Alkatiri says the Commonwealth is connecting the two by refusing to sign one, without finalising the other."

He says, "We Timorese we are negotiating in good faith, but I don't think that Australians are doing the same."

Mr Alkatiri says the Northern Territory Government is more cooperative and a recent meeting with the Resource Development Minister Paul Henderson shows both jurisdictions are working towards the same goal.

12/02/2003 08:22:16 | ABC Radio Australia News

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