Subject: Timor-Leste Local Media Monitoring April 19, 2004

Timor-Leste International and Local Media monitoring April 19, 2004


Campaign demands a fair go for East Timor

On April 14, 50 members of the Timor Sea Justice Campaign met outside the High Court to launch the group. Comedian Rod Quantock was joined by protesters disguised as Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. They waded in the ornamental pool, making a grab for Timorese oil, represented by black balloons. The Timor Sea Justice Campaign aims to change Australian Government policy in relation to the Timor sea. The Timor Sea Campaign is calling on the Australian Government to agree to East Timorese demands to meet monthly to settle boundaries and to adhere to international law to ensure that boundaries are drawn equidistant between the two countries.

Government criticized over East Timor Oil

The Catholic Church has accused the Australian Government of trying to rob East Timor of billions of dollars-worth of oil and gas by forcing it into an unfair agreement. The two countries will begin talks in Dili on the issue of a permanent maritime boundary in the resource-rich East Timor Sea. Australia has already ratified an agreement with East Timor over use of the Greater Sunrise oil and gas field, one of the region’s biggest, worth around $ 8 billion dollars. But Marc Purcell, the Executive Officer of the Melbourne Catholic Commission for Justice, Development and Peace, said the East Timorese government has now decided not to ratify that treaty. “The East Timorese government, having signed the document, is saying they’re not going to ratify it and they’re really holding back from doing this because they feel they’re being bullied by Australia in regards to access to their oil and gas deposits in the general area of the Timor Sea,” he said. Mr Purcell said the East Timorese also want to scrap an interim maritime boundary which it’s claimed gives Australia an unfair share of the area’s resources. “Most of the oil lies closer to East Timor than Australia. If you drew a line in the middle of the Timor Sea, according to international law, those oil and gas deposits would fall within East Timor control. The problem is that the Australian government is holding fast to an interim agreement which really it negotiated many years ago with Indonesia when it was occupying East Timor,” he said.

Time to learn the language

The Head of the Secondary School Don Martinho da Costa Lopes in the District of Maliana, Estanislau Baptista, said according to the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste the official language is Portuguese. The teachers need time to learn how to write and speak to be able to teach the students. Mr Baptista said that people throughout the country have been learning the Portuguese language but it has been difficult to teach to the students born during the Indonesian occupation.

Timor Post

Marmalade produce in TL

The Head of the Department for Development of Small and Medium Enterprise in Timor-Leste, Antonio da Costa, said that the Catholic Institute of International Relation (CIIR) has trained a group of women to produce marmalade from the fruits produced locally. He said that representatives from five different districts have received the training to produce marmalade from bananas, pineapple and pawpaw fruit.

Jose Filipe External Affairs World Bank, Dili Office Ph: 723 0554 Tel: 332 4649

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