Exclusive: Alexander Downer - Pompous colonial git
Date: Thursday, 6 March 2003
A DFAT insider writes:
Last night Foreign Minister Alexander Downer was trying to phone the
Prime Minister of East Timor, Dr Alkatiri, insisting that he be invited
to come to Dili today (Thursday) to sign an agreement on the Greater
Sunrise gas field in the Timor Sea.
Alkatiri had promised to sign as soon as he had Cabinet approval. Downer
was really mad because he doesn't have Alkatiri's phone number and
Alkatiri won't give it to him because he thinks, not unreasonably, that
Downer is a goose. Advertisement
Alkatiri's staffers then passed on 2 messages to one of Downer's
1) Alkatiri would be happy to receive phone calls from Howard but not
2) That Downer should learn to trust the Timorese people. Downer even
had his Ambassador to ET suggest to Alkatiri that he should move his
Cabinet meeting forward to accommodate Downer's travel plans... You can
imagine how this was received.
With respect to the negotiations over the Timor Sea, Downer has been
described as "belligerent and aggressive". Yesterday in Parliament,
opposition MPs decried the fact that he "is barely on speaking terms
with the Prime Minister of our nearest neighbor in the region" and prone
to tantrums. Well that we all know, it was reported in the Oz (13
My exclusive leak to you is a copy of the transcript of the (in)famous
27 November meeting between Downer and Mari Alkatiri, in which
(particularly towards the end) Downer comes off the paper sounding like
a right pompous colonialist git...
Daphne Diplomat, your DFAT insider
Read the full transcript below:
DOWNER: POMPOUS COLONIAL GIT
From Crikey.com.au website
"Crikey will point out theft, corruption, deception and collusion
whenever and wherever it can. It is our self-appointed task to take a
long thin spike to the bloated egos of political, media and corporate
Australia and to take clear black and white snap shots of the men and
women who have their fingers in the till or who simply get paid too much
for doing shoddy work.
We will at all times try to have fun, respect the laws of our country in
as far as they make sense and to fill the gaps the Australian media seem
unable or unwilling to fulfil."
Yours very truly
The Crikey Team
Crikey's fly on the DFAT wall
Alexander Downer has acted like a pompous colonial git in dealing with
the East Timorese as we can exclusively reveal from this official
transcript of the infamous meeting with East Timor's PM Dr Mari Alkatiri
on November 27 last year.
Timor Sea Treaty Ministerial Meeting
Wednesday, 27 November 2002, 11:00 a.m.
Council Of Ministers Meeting Room, Dili, Timor-Leste
H.E. Dr. Mari Alkatiri
Mr. Jorge Teme
Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
Mr. Olimpio Branco
Director-Genral of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
Ms. Niny Borges
Advisor to the Prime Minister
Ms. Alisa Newman
Timor Sea Office, Office of the Prime Minister
Mr. Manuel de Lemos
Assistant Coordinator and Finance Officer
Timor Sea Office, Office of the Prime Minister
Ms. Zoe Cottew
Timor Sea Office, Office of the Prime Minister
Mr. Manuel Mendonca
Timor Sea Office, Office of the Prime Minister
Mr. Jose Manuel G. Guterres
Chief of Staff
Office of the Prime Minsiter
Hon. Alexander Downer MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Hon. Ian Macfarlane MP
Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources
Mr. Paul Foley
Mr. Joshua Frydenberg
Senior Advisor to Mr. Downer
Mr. Ross Dunn
Senior Advisor to Mr Macfarlane
Dr. Geoff Raby
Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Mr. John Hartwell
First Assistant Secretary, Resources Division
Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources
Mr. Chris Moraitis
Senior Legal Advisor, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Ms Rebecca Irwin
Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of International Law
Alkatiri:It's always a pleasure to receive friends in our country. I
have invited you to come here to sort out the agenda for the rest of
this year. As you know the budget revision is in process and we have a
donor meeting in December. We have chosen not to . . . 'til the end of
January. Thank you for coming, I hope our negotiations are fruitful. It
is no novelty that we are committed to the agreements we began. We are
still committed to ratifying the Treaty and agreeing the International
Unitisation Agreement. Since the beginning our technicians have
encountered difficulties, it is up to us to overcome them. I hope you
can do better to overcome these difficulties. Our position is well
known, as is Australia's. I hand over to Minister Downer for his
Downer: Minster MacFarlane and I appreciate the opportunity to talk
about these issues. I remember attending the signing of the Timor Sea
Treaty on 20 May this year. There is unfinished business since signing
the Memorandum of Understanding on 20 May 2002... maritime boundaries
and concluding the IUA by 31 December. The clock is ticking. I know from
experience that these things get resolved at the last minute. We have
lots of other things . . . [such as] Christmas and New Year, so we need
to put [things] together long before 31 December. We need to put in
place procedures we can't avoid [for] moving ahead with the ratification
of the TST. The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties had a number of
public hearings . . . They don't recommend we don't [ratify], they
recommend we proceed to ratify and put [in place] procedures for
enabling legislation [which] is being drafted and will hopefully be
submitted to Parliament in the next couple of weeks. It can pass through
the House of Representatives quite quickly and possibly Senate.
It could be referred to the Senate Committee, it is less likely but
possible. [We need] to take into account that by the time the procedures
are completed it will be past 31 December. [Once] it's through Senate,
the ratification procedure will be complete and then the Governor
General will need to sign it.
There are not one but two areas of unfinished business: the IUA and the
renegotiation of maritime boundaries. I have no illusions that we are
starting off on a point of disagreement. In good faith we absolutely
agree to enter into negotiations. There is a whole range of issues
involved: the questions of sea bed boundaries, water column boundaries .
. . The Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] is not the same as sea bed
boundaries already negotiated with Indonesia. In good faith, there are
do's and don'ts, I would put to you that we establish a Joint Maritime
Commission which would begin in the new year. [The Commission] would
start work on the seabed and the EEZ and examine the issues there and
see where we go.
Since you are keen to negotiate - your Parliament is insistent on you
negotiating maritime boundaries - we will help you by putting in place
procedures. [We don't want to] look as though we are obstructing the
joint examination of issues involved.
We don't concede any points we make and vice versa. We need to work
through the legal issues, the legal precedents [of the] law of the sea.
We are prepared to do that.
[We will] stick rigidly to the Treaty and absolutely get the TST
ratified. We are working through the processes and JSCOT worked very
quickly and produced a positive report. We [need] to conclude the IUA by
31 December and we need to do that consistent with the Treaty and Annex
E. MacFarlane, do you have anything to add?
MacFarlane: We want to work in good faith and understand the issues you
have in completing the Treaty and completing the IUA. Minister Downer
covered all the issues.
Alkatiri: Thank you for expressing your willingness to continue [talks]
on the EEZ. Naturally the boundaries that we wish to delimit are not
exclusive to the EEZ. I agree with the Joint Maritime Commission to
begin the process. It is a good beginning for the whole process.
Regarding the IUA, our commitment is firm to decide by 31 December, we
are racing against time. We will do our utmost possible to meet demands
and that which is required of us. Our negotiations will also be in good
faith. We are not interested in going back on a commitment already made.
Downer: The IUA from our point of view... this is where we think we can
negotiate and can't lay political parameters. So far the negotiations
are bogged down on two issues 1) the Timor-Leste proposal of a joint
development area for Greater Sunrise 2) the question of where you
measure the return and [hence] the revenue share - the wellhead...
downstream... Where you measure will have implications for the revenue.
If I was in your position - I understand the need to maximise revenue.
For us, we are nervous about this process. Even Osama is denouncing us
for supporting East Timor, don't worry, we're tough, there are no
regrets. We worry about negotiations on the TST and the implications for
our relations with other countries, especially Indonesia. We have a
massive boundary - with France - New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New
Guinea. We have to think about all these considerations. You have to
negotiate with Indonesia - although we don't want to know! We worry
about precedents. Money is not a big problem, we can always broker an
arrangement. On principle we are surprisingly inflexible. What we can't
do is agree to joint petroleum development of Greater Sunrise. Stick
with what is agreed in Annex E - 80/20 - the apportionment [phrase?] is
not working well for you.
We have bigger issues of principle being a bigger country. We agreed to
joint development authority because there was no other way to reach an
agreement with Indonesia at the time. We can't expand, it changes the
nature of the TST. The second point, where you measure the revenues, how
far downstream do you go? Not to someone's cooker in Tokyo, but we are
prepared to negotiate on that, talk about how that could be arranged.
We can expand /contract our position, there is some degree of
flexibility. Joint petroleum development ... much over stated.
The Joint Maritime Commission is a much more significant issue. We have
given you the TST already. [The TST would be] without prejudice to what
the commission would do. We can't go the extra step of setting up a
joint development area. We want a single IUA. The point of determining
revenue- this is somewhat negotiable. It's understandable the formulas
are different for Bayu-Undan, for Greater Sunrise we definitely want to
go ahead with offshore [processing]. The Northern Territory government
is not very pleased.
What makes a difference to you is that the project goes ahead and that
Bayu-Undan goes ahead - that makes a difference to you. I don't
understand the part of where you calculate revenue shares. We will
certainly continue to negotiate that, but we won't agree to a joint
development area. We want a simple IUA.
Alkatiri: I understood your message to be a positive one. The details
will be handed over to our technicians. What we seek of our frontiers is
connected to other issues [such as] fishing, security and all that - I
don't want to speak about them today under the ministers with you [?].
For Greater Sunrise, our interest lies in revenues, I wish to repeat - I
am pragmatic and I don't want to leave any doubt...
Downer: I appreciate you being so frank, I was right in my supposition.
Alkatiri: ...and to initiate negotiations as soon as possible with our
technicians on the proposed JPDA and keep working together. We do not
think we could go ahead alone. I ask you to understand our proposal on
this basis. Any alternative - we can consider it.
Downer: These talks are going faster than I thought. I appreciate your
candour. If I was in your position I would focus on revenue for your new
and poor country and how to [progress] without compromising your
integrity. To call us a big bully is a grotesque simplification of
Australia. We had a cosy economic agreement with Indonesia, we bailed
East Timor out with no economic benefit. Our relationship is crucially
important, particularly for you, East Timor. The two countries you can
count on the most are Portugal and Australia. We don't want there to be
any delay in the IUA with you . . . We won't have completed the
ratification process by 31 December but you can tell the operators that
there will be no obstacles in this, we do say, if you agree not to push
a joint development area for the IUA and stick to the TST 80/20.... Get
the officers to continue the IUA. I hope that could be done quickly in
one round of talks.
It boils down to downstream revenue - it's got to be possible, it's not
massive amounts of money.
[As for] the Joint Maritime Commission, get that going and set it up,
sort out how it would work, the terms of reference - after the Christmas
and New Year holiday.
Alkatiri: I want to understand the proposal... We have no interest in
changing the Timor Sea Treaty. The ratification process started two days
ago, it is not going to change. Of course we will not use the area to
delimit permanent boundaries as it's in the agreement of joint
administration of the exploitation and exploration of oil and gas
products. I have also understood you are delaying the negotiations of
Downer: It is not a delay, but a proposal for how they can be managed.
We can't do anything before the end of the year, [if we] include the IUA.
We are happy to set up a Joint Commission and begin in the new year. We
all need a holiday.
Alkatiri: We are committed to enforcing the IUA, the idea of the Joint
Maritime Commission can be worked on. Australia can send a written
proposal so we can analyse and consider it. We are open for discussion.
Downer: We don't have much to send. The idea is that we want to discuss
boundaries between Australia and East Timor - we should find a joint
mechanism for managing this... a bureaucracy for it, designated officers
who will set the pattern of meetings and work. It raises the need to
explore legal issues, see what the law says, what precedents are needed
to be properly explored and examined - it's a good way of doing it.
Alkatiri: Imagine our technicians will be working on the IUA next week -
Downer: We can send our officers...
Alkatiri: They can come here, it will make it easy for me, I need them
Downer: They can come here, I understand.
Alkatiri: Minister, you spoke about the sharing of revenues - let our
technicians discuss this in the context of the IUA.
Downer: We can't do it here, we don't have the technical people, it's
all a bit debatable - in determining revenue allocations. The further
downstream you go the greater benefit to you than for us. You will push
for maximum downstream and we will push for maximum upstream.
Macfarlane: Do you have some idea of the ratio of downstream...?
Alkatiri: ...[?] new proposals - if you ask me now I will ask for 100%.
I also want to be reasonable.
Downer: It's up to the technical officers. East Timor wanted to go
further downstream than Australia is ready to go. They will be able to
agree something on that basis - [we'll get] the whole thing fixed up.
Alkatiri: I understand the ratification of the Timor Sea Treaty will go
Downer: It's got to be finished for introduction [to the House of
Representatives] next Wednesday/ Thursday...
Irwin: We're working back from the last date possible.
Downer: We're looking at today fortnight to be introduced to the House
of Representatives, it has to pass through - that's a given. The way you
could get the support of the Senate is by getting your officials to talk
to our opposition, it would be helpful for the swift passage of the
legislation. The Australian Democrats opposed it, the Labour Party
supports it, the democrats and Greens opposition could send the TST to
another Committee. We need to stop that. It could be heard in a couple
of weeks. We can push the process as quickly as possible to get the
whole thing tied up.
Alkatiri: You mentioned other issues - please go ahead.
Downer: I had a discussion with Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta in
Yogyakarta in early October regarding maritime security, particularly on
East Timor's side. On our side we have an organisation called Coast
Watch, which flies planes through [to monitor] illegal fishing, migrants
- we have had some from your parts. Also there are patrol boats based in
Darwin. We have an enormous area and methods and technological methods
to provide appropriate surveillance to Australian waters. Timor-Leste
has nothing but two patrol boats which are just river boats and can't be
used on the south side, and the cost to run, that would be very
expensive. We don't have a particular proposal. Jose was interested in
talking about using maritime resources. We need to get into some
discussion. People are stealing your fish, the Taiwanese, Japanese -
someone will find your waters and vacuum up your fish, that's probable
if you have no regime. There are ways we might be able to help - I
wanted to mention this.
Alkatiri: We need to communicate with Australia. There are no doubts
about that. All these issues are interconnected with the Exclusive
Economic Zone. In order to control our fishing area we need to know what
that area is. I have had discussions with Jose, we need to cooperate
with Australia for security, for borders and for Australia to train our
staff and provide supplies and serve those areas within our maritime
boundaries. We also discussed . . . we could explore what could be
arranged. We are open for discussion.
Downer: It is not what is most urgent, but it needs to be thought about
and worked out. On the TST in relation to the JPDA, there are
negotiations going on between Timor-Leste and Phillips regarding PSCs.
There are Australian companies who are partners with Phillips - they are
concerned the arrangement is preferential to Phillips. They might decide
they can do better outside Phillips' LNG proposal, under the proposed
PSC. Australian companies could have money and gas confiscated with the
PSC - it's biased in Phillips' favour. I wanted to draw the companies'
concern to your attention. It's a technical issue, I'll leave that with
you. The CEO of one of the Australian partners was very excitable. The
Australian partners are important as well. They don't want arrangements
which benefit Phillips at the expense of the Australian partners.
Alkatiri: We have been negotiating on the assumption that they
[ConocoPhillips] represent the whole joint venture. We have discussed
all the issues.
Downer: They probably pitched to you to their advantage. I find them
reasonable. I'm glad you are not setting up a nationalised monolith,
you're heading in the right direction.
Alkatiri: Let us restart the technical negotiations, the week commencing
Foley: That's the same week as the donor conference.
Downer: The technical talks could be wrapped up in a day which would
give the donors confidence.
Alkatiri: It is different people [that are required for the IUA
negotiations and the donor conference].
Downer: It would be good to go into talks trying to fix [things] up
before the donor meeting.
Newman: Jonathan Morrow is away until 9 December and Phillip Daniel will
have to come from the UK.
Foley: The donor meeting is on Monday 9 December Downer: Need to have it
before then - Friday 7 December. Could Jonathan come back early?
Macfarlane: It would be a good look for the donors.
Downer: We won't agree to a joint authority for Greater Sunrise but we
will be happy to work through the whole question of money and downstream
revenue - that can be the main focus of the talks. We can have a very
good week, week after next.
Alkatiri: I'd like some clarification on the issue of the Joint Maritime
Commission. It is understood that we need to continue discussions on the
IUA. The IUA is a separate issue from the maritime boundary issue. We
will continue the JPDA. The IUA does not mean that we will accept the
Downer: Don't press the re-apportionment issue. It is too hard and might
not work for you. The 80/20 split is articulated in Annex E. It is
without prejudice to future maritime boundaries. The Joint Maritime
Commission will begin early next year.
Alkatiri: Just to clarify, the IUA will be based on what? How will the
adjustments in revenue be made - so I can guide my team.
Downer: Annex E - and based on existing boundaries. The allocation is
80/20, but without prejudice to maritime boundaries. If this is changed
we will have to make adjustments to all the agreements. Let's stick to
the TST, which provides the [outline?] of 80/20.
MacFarlane: It is within the TST, the ability to reassess is in the
layout of the field i.e., to 75/25 or 85/15 - this depends on the
geological [?] based on the TST - as it is written there
Alkatiri: Of the 20/80, 20 is within the JPDA, who has jurisdiction of
Alkatiri: This complicates the issue.
Downer: It doesn't as it is written into the Treaty. Stick to the
pre-existing maritime boundaries which are subject to change in the
future negotiations on maritime boundaries. We want to conclude the TST,
we don't want to renegotiate - that is the point I am making. The TST
provides for maritime boundaries, for proposed maritime boundaries - the
IUA is determined in the TST. Renegotiation of the TST is not possible.
Alkatiri: There are overlapping claims in regard to the area outside the
Alkatiri: That is why we need a greater guarantee of maritime boundaries
before the resources are exploited.
Downer: Our TST provides for how the resources will be exploited.
Alkatiri: Within the area [of the TST] we all agree, outside the JPDA -
that is where we have the problem.
Downer: Of course you have a claim - and we do too. Everything will
collapse if we reach a point where maritime boundaries need to be
negotiated, if we scrap the TST. It puts us back two years. There will
be no point in proceeding with the TST. There are boundaries for the
purposes of the TST - subject to the 'without prejudice' [clause] for
future negotiations. We don't have to exploit the resources they can
stay there for 20/40/50 years. To exploit [them] we need the TST.
Alkatiri: 80% is attributed to Australia.
Macfarlane: It is in Australia to be administered by Australia.
Alkatiri: It is an area subject to overlapping claims.
Downer: We are going backwards - it's like we haven't had the meeting in
2000 or negotiated at the end of 2001 where we would, for the purposes
of the TST, stick with the pre-existing boundaries between Australia and
Indonesia. In the end, we would give [Timor-Leste] 90%, nevertheless
stick with the boundaries - and the TST does define boundaries - and
they are defined for the IUA in Annex E of the TST. 80/20 is based on
boundaries in existence without prejudice to future maritime boundaries.
There are things we can agree - I can't agree, in the context of the
IUA, to changing boundaries. This would change the TST. It would unravel
many arrangements with this TST but would also [unravel] arrangements
with other countries. Stick with the TST. In the future set up the Joint
Maritime Commission, then agree changes to maritime boundaries. In those
circumstances make adjustments to the TST. We don't want to renegotiate
Alkatiri: We are also not wanting to change the TST and don't want to
question the 80/20 split.
Downer: Read Annex E. We've agreed this - we are not un-signing it. This
is where the figures 80/20 come from.
Alkatiri: Our Maritime Zones Act (MZA) clearly shows our potential
claims. Based on that, we need to find a formula that won't disrespect
our law. I understand that Australia has claims on that area. We also
do. This [the 80/20 split] was first brought into [the picture] because
20% lies in the JPDA. The 80% remains in an area of overlapping claims.
Downer: We didn't agree to Indonesian claims and they didn't agree to
ours. We have conceded to the JPDA - we didn't agree - we also conceded
90% to Timor-Leste. The whole question of Greater Sunrise, we agreed to
the 80/20 in negotiations with Galbraith and yourself. We can complete
all these processes by Christmas apart from the final Senate [ ]. There
is no point in presenting a TST that is meaningless - if you say that
the numbers have no meaning, you are telling us that the TST should be
adjusted. And we're telling you that it can't be adjusted. After the TST
is in force, people can make claims all [over the place]. We can make
claims if you want us to. We have helped you, you lay claims to great
swabs of ocean. There is nothing to stop you. But we don't have to
agree. But we do have a TST that needs to be agreed.
Alkatiri: The IUA is very complex.
Downer: No it's not! It's as simple as the rest of it.
Alkatiri: We have analysed the TST, there is no linkage between the TST
and the IUA.
Downer: No there is not, but if you don't want to adhere [to it] and
want to change and don't accept the 80/20, what's the point of
ratifying? I make the point: you are being counterproductive. We want to
ratify the TST - we are happy with it, we don't want to renegotiate. The
Exchange of Notes keeps the arrangements going. We can renegotiate. Then
Phillips will cancel that project. Greater Sunrise will be cancelled. We
can live with that. We think it is in your best interests to ratify and
Alkatiri: It is not in our interest to cause collapse.
Downer: I think that might be right.
Alkatiri: This is why we have begun the ratification process [for the
TST] regardless of the IUA conclusion. Timor-Leste does not know the
outcome of [IUA] negotiations but we have already begun the [TST]
ratification process. It is different to Greater Sunrise. Waiting for
the conclusion of the IUA will not help Bayu-Undan.
Downer: Why would you say that? Why raise it? For us, we think we should
stick to the agreement - stick to the agreement entered into. For you,
it is ultimately the revenues that matter. It is not the most important
issue - it's a very minor issue. There are other issues that are much
more important. Stick to the TST, we are prepared to talk about money.
If you say the 80/20 split does not mean the same thing, it means that
you want to reconsider the TST. In that case neither of us should ratify
- we can stop everything. We are happy to help you. We have gone to no
end of trouble negotiating the TST. It should have been easier than it
was. It was agreed and signed on 20 May 2002. Now you want to change it
- we can stop everything.
Alkatiri: There is a misunderstanding: it is not about changing the TST.
If we had begun maritime boundary negotiations in November [when you
were] invited, it might have helped this meeting.
Downer: But you've agreed to an MOU which says [you are committed] to
agreeing [an IUA] by 31 December 2002. We don't agree with your claims.
We are good and decent people and with very good faith we have come up
with proposals such as the Joint Maritime Commission. You say we should
ratify immediately but we shouldn't conclude an IUA before renegotiating
boundaries. We can throw at you just as many lawyers to justify our
boundary claim. Public opinion in Australia think 90% is very generous.
We support the TST which was adhered to and signed.
Alkatiri: It is not with generosity that you gave us 90%. We have lost
Downer: We claimed 100% and we lost 90% - I think that's a pretty good
outcome for you.
Alkatiri: Don't get upset, please speak calmly on this issue. Our 100%
claim is based on international law and the equidistance line. It was
not a random decision. The present issue of generosity - I do not
Downer: We had these negotiations two years ago.
Alkatiri: It is not generosity.
Downer: We negotiated the 80/20 split a couple of years ago, if you are
telling me you want to renegotiate...
Alkatiri: That is not what I am saying, why would we have initiated the
ratification process? We are fulfilling our goals. Only the IUA should
be fulfilled by 31 December, you need two partners to be in agreement.
We are ready to continue discussing. We'll continue - that's why I said
I am very pragmatic. The IUA is an economic issue but this doesn't mean
we want to delay the discussions on maritime boundaries - this should be
clear. Maritime boundaries should be drawn. This will equal a clear
relationship between two countries. We are committed to continue and
agree [an IUA] by 31 December.
Downer: We are not walking away but we are not prepared to use the IUA
to renegotiate maritime boundaries - as agreed under the TST. The IUA
negotiations must be consistent with the TST. The number one thing we
can't do - we can't use the IUA as a way of renegotiating boundaries. We
will not sign a new parameter. We will not agree a JPDA for Greater
Sunrise. We want a simple IUA.
Claims are often made, we could refuse to agree and live with the status
quo but we are prepared to set up the Joint Maritime Commission. For
goodness sake, can I make a plea and be frank? It is absolutely crucial
for Timor-Leste to get these projects going. You need us to help, to
help you, but we've gone through all these negotiations over the last
two years. This discussion on the IUA, we don't want to reopen [it].
That's the end of it. We are flexible on the revenue issue. The IUA
makes no difference on sovereignty claims. The TST sets out the 'without
prejudice' clause for Timor-Leste's claims to maritime boundaries. The
TST in time can be changed by permanent maritime boundaries. We are
absolutely sticking to the TST and Annex E. Otherwise there is no point
in sending officials to renegotiate new boundaries for Greater Sunrise.
Alkatiri: We need the best relations with Australia. We know the
personal role of the Minister with Timor-Leste and recognise that. What
we are negotiating is the future not the past. On this basis we want to
continue negotiating. It is natural that Australia has said that it does
not recognise our claims. We cannot say we don't recognise claims on the
basis that we have two neighbouring countries. In 1972 Australia had an
agreement with Indonesia, [it was a] bad draw, at the time not even the
colonial country was involved. Essentially the limits of the gap are
with Australia and Indonesia and are before the IUA. While we can't be
successors to the 1972 boundary, we don't want Australia to have
problems with your neighbours when you enter into negotiations with us.
Because of this we want to accommodate all your concerns, but
accommodating is one thing and scrapings off a plate is another.
When we talk about money and funds, we don't want to be given [these] -
we want recognition of what is ours. We want to make it clear that we
recognise Australia's provision of money, we thank Australia for this.
We want to separate this from the issues being negotiated. We believe we
should continue negotiations to see if we can have an IUA by 31
Downer: Let me ask a couple of questions... 1) is it my understanding
you want to keep the TST just as it is?
Alkatiri: Yes, otherwise why ratify?
Downer: You want to keep Annex E just as it is?
Alkatiri: Yes the TST includes everything.
Downer: Why is it complicated for us to conclude an agreement on the
basis of Annex E?
Alkatiri:To be frank with you: 1) We don't know when the IUA will start
so why this hurry to link the two? 2) We don't know how long maritime
boundary negotiations will go although the Joint Maritime Commission is
a very positive proposal. 3) We know Australia has withdrawn from the
ICJ for reasons we don't have to discuss now. 4) Although I'm certain
that the TST will be ratified by the majority of National Parliament, I
cannot overlook those opinions that oppose the Greater Sunrise
[development]. Those people disagree on the basis of maritime boundary
Downer: Why the hurry? You signed the agreement on 20 May, why not
hurry? Why the agreement? It is not a question of hurry or not, fast or
slow, it's a matter of sticking to the agreement. There is a hurry in my
opinion for a new country, it will have serious ramifications and effect
on Timor-Leste. Why raise a fundamental question about the TST itself?
Like all relations with other countries, keep it simple. We are not
making the TST subject to claims. We are leaders, it is our job to
deliver good outcomes. You can't deliver a good outcome to your people
of Timor-Leste if you don't agree. I will be happy to send people on the
7-9 December. I'm not sure the meeting will lead to anything productive.
I don't know how you want to change it. If you are not happy with
maritime boundaries as determined in the TST, why sign an agreement? It
is worth our while concluding if we don't unravel Annex E. I expect the
side issue, but we won't agree to a joint development area. Sure, you do
want to talk about boundaries - we are going to agree to that. You have
to face reality. If you are going to demand that all resources are
Timor-Leste's - your claim almost goes to Alice Springs - you can demand
that for ever for all I care, you can continue to demand, but if you
want to make money, you should conclude an agreement quickly.
Alkatiri: I meant potential claims. That means we still need to
negotiate. It is obvious that we don't want [all that you said that we
are claiming] and even if we did, we couldn't oppose...
[10 MINUTE BREAK]
Downer: We want to round this off. We are prepared to send officials
back. It is terribly important. I have come to let you know where we
stand. It's the same old message: [Let me] come clean, there is no point
in sending officials if Morrow and Daniels will say the same things.
What basis will the discussion be on?
Alkatiri: We are open to receive concrete and clear proposals. It would
be good if even before the negotiations, you send a proposal.
Downer: We will only send proposals on this basis - we are not going to
renegotiate the TST. Understand that. It doesn't matter what your
Western advisers say, we won't renegotiate the TST... [We will
proceed...1) (?)] 2) On the basis that we renegotiate the downstream
revenue. 3) There will be no new joint development area above the one
agreed to in the TST. 4) Officials will put together the details of how
a Joint Maritime Commission will work - this needs to be agreed - there
is not much of a point of disagreement. We haven't been involved since
the singing of the TST on 20 May. [It seems] there has been zero
progress. The style of negotiating is unusual and not what we are used
to. You have this idea of 'brinksmanship', pushing things to the outer
limit. We won't be at work on 31 December. We will be on holiday. It is
the Christmas holiday, also before Christmas, and will be back in
January. We don't want to play games, we are familiar with that. We want
genuine discussions on the reasonable basis that we have described.
Otherwise what's the point of discussion? There will be no new joint
development area for Greater Sunrise. We will negotiate boundaries. We
are prepared to facilitate that.
Alkatiri: I see here four items: 1) Not to renegotiate TST - we agree,
2) downstream revenue - we await a proposal...
Downer and MacFarlane: We should see it from you...
Alkatiri: ... 3) No JPDA - we will see what alternatives there are, 4)
on the Joint Maritime Commission, I have stated my agreement. From these
four points, we agree with two. The sharing of revenue we have to
renegotiate. I would only like to make it clear that the IUA does not
hold jurisdiction. Downer: We agree and we understand your position. You
can't make us agree to your proposal. Let's be practical, that's why we
propose to set up the Joint Maritime Commission. The boundaries East
-West, it is relevant that Indonesia be included. I don't think moving
your boundaries East - West will be more different than North-South. You
must understand, we won't agree to a new design on top of the existing
TST. The joint development area on the Greater Sunrise is a change. That
Morrow is very aggressive. Well he has met his match with me. We won't
agree to a JPDA for Greater Sunrise. We will do you due respect to
listen to the proposal. We don't like brinksmanship. I think your
Western advisers give you very poor advice that public opinion supports
East Timor in Australia. We are very tough. We will not care if you give
information to the media. Let me give you a tutorial in politics - not a
Alkatiri: I think we will continue negotiating. Unfortunately,
Australians, instead of putting pressure on their own government are
putting pressure on Timor-Leste.
Downer: I understand, but you are a leader.
Alkatiri: Let's change the subject. I hope Australia will understand...
Downer: I'm afraid we have to leave to catch our flight. [Missed] Don't
execute them if they break your law...Let's say to the media that we had
good and boisterous discussion and that we are sending officials up on 6
and 7 December to discuss.
Alkatiri: Do you think it is appropriate to make an announcement on the
Joint Maritime Commission - make an announcement to the press?
Downer: Why not?
Raby: We should see how we go with other discussions first.
Downer: Let's work out how it's going to work out first before the
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