|Subject: CONG: Rep. Kennedy (D-RI) on
mediator in Timor Sea talks, IMET
March 9, 2005 Wednesday
HEARING OF THE SCIENCE, STATE, JUSTICE AND COMMERCE AND RELATED AGENCIES SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE
LOCATION: 2359 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C.
REP. PATRICK KENNEDY (D-RI): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Welcome, Madame Secretary. I'd like to start -- I've been working for years on trying to get East Timor off on its own, and now it's an international -- its own country internationally. But it's obviously still a very poor country.
There are major disputes. Most of the oil and gas reserves that exist in the shelf exist much, much closer to East Timor than they do Australia. Of course, Australia insists that they should have access to the oil and gas. There obviously is a huge dispute.
But I was hoping that perhaps you could work to encourage an international, independent mediator to try to resolve this crisis between. And I would ask you to do that and, if you would, get back to me on what direction this is going between Australia and East Timor.
When I've been working on the area of East Timor, we obviously work to suspend IMET because of the nature of brutality of the Indonesian government. We're seeing much of the same reports of abuse in terms of Aceh. And when it comes to the tsunami relief, there is a concern that the dollars, if they kind of go through the traditional authorities, that it might be used to further exploit and dominate the minority populations in Aceh that are currently in conflict with the Indonesian government.
And if you would also get back to me on some of the steps that you plan to take to make sure that the military forces that are running much of the disbursement of foreign assistance in Aceh, that they aren't using that to continue to subjugate the people, minority groups in Aceh.