Subject: Timor Post editorials on Timor-Australia relations

Editorial, Timor Post 10 February 2004 Translated from Tetum (grammar problems in original) Translations provided by La'o Hamutuk

East Timor-Australia

During the last month we have learned that other countries are speaking about Australia’s position on the resources of the Timor Sea, where Australia doesn't want to open talks with East Timor. Australia’s position has been strongly criticized by the international community -- and by many Australians who disagree with the position of the Australian government which Prime Minister John Howard leads. Like the experience East Timor faced when Indonesia invaded East Timor -- the day is near when Australia also will step away from their illegal occupation of the Timor Sea.

We agree with the position of East Timor’s government, and Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri has already given a deadline to Australia to quickly sit together at the table and discuss the maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea, according to East Timor’s rights under international law. In spite of our government’s position on this, we disagree with their actions in not giving open and accurate information to the public about how the negotiations are proceeding, and about the position of East Timor and Australia.

What is happening in Australia is that the majority of the Australian people don’t like the position of John Howard’s government in the case of East Timor -- the Timorese people also don’t like the position of East Timor’s government about having the negotiations with Australia in secret, with only one person participating -- Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri -- this is not right -- because the Timor Sea resources belong to East Timor’s public -- these resources belong to many people -- not only one person or one group.

We hope for the reaction of the international community against Australia’s position -- quickly getting Australia to recognize and consider East Timor’s position as an independent nation in the world, just as other nations recognize and consider Australia. WE HOPE!

-- Sidebar (under editorial): Ramos-Horta says Timor-Leste’s and Australia’s militaries work together after the end of the UNMISET mission… (editorial comment:) This part of Australia is good, but on the other hand Australia is bad because of their illegal occupation of the Timor Sea.


Timor Post, 12 February 2004, Editorial

One More Time, Australia!

Australia -- East Timor’s neighboring nation, which East Timor has known since the Second World War, the Australian political position during the Indonesian invasion is still in East Timor’s memory, finally Australia’s most recent clear position in leading InterFET to quickly enter East Timor, in order to have a successful international force in East Timor. The East Timorese remember this history, it is hard to forget, although these memories have no value when the Australian government continues to refuse to recognize and consider Timorese rights to discuss and know our maritime boundary according to international law.

Gilberto Ximenes, SE, lecturer in the Economic Faculty of the National University of Timor Leste says Australia is really using its own “force” to “teach” us according to their wishes because their position is very likely to prevail. From another part, Deputy Manuel Tilman of KOTA party said that he doesn't believe that the Sunrise project would be based in East Timor. As a large, rich nation with a good political culture, it’s better for the Australian government not to use such maneuvers against a small, poor nation like East Timor, very clearly “seizing” what belongs to the people of this poor land -- the Bayu-Undan project that has been going on since the Timor Gap Treaty between Australia and Indonesia in 1986 -- treaty that is no longer valid because East Timor is already independent.

As a very advanced country, Australia must show their dignity as a big nation -- facing a small and poor country like East Timor. It is necessary to clarify that what the Australian government has done in relation to the Timor Sea has not won the sympathy of the people -- particularly their moral responsibility as a rich neighboring country. It is now time for the Australian government to raise the maritime boundary case, to resolve it according to international law, as a neighbor Australia must have known what they should have done for East Timor after the latest evolution of their history. WE HOPE!

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