20 May 2004

Australia rapped over East Timor oil

Oxfam is urging Australia to "play fair" with its smaller neighbour East Timor is at risk of becoming a failed state, just two years after winning independence, Oxfam has warned.

It claims Australia is hampering East Timor's finances by laying claim to the lion's share of Timor Sea oil fields.

While Australia has been a "generous donor" it has actually reaped 10 times more in revenues from East Timor than it has given since 1999, Oxfam added.

Australia makes £1m (AU$2.6m) a day from a temporary deal granting access to two thirds of the oil fields, Oxfam said.

But, the charity argued, if a maritime boundary were set up between the two countries according to international law it would deliver "most, if not all" of these resources to East Timor.

I blogged about this a few days ago.

The Foreign Minister of Kleenexjustifies Australia's record as follows:

I think they've made a very big mistake thinking that the best way to handle this negotiation is trying to shame Australia, is mounting abuse on our country, accusing us of being bullying and rich and so on when you consider all we've done for East Timor...

We were the major contributor to Interfet. On the other hand, we were alone in recognising the Indonesian annexation and supporting Indonesia at the Un throughout the 24 year history of Indonesian rule. During that time between 100 000 and 250 000 East Timorese died out of a total population of three quarters of a million.

The Oxfam analysis of the Timor Sea Treaty has links where you can lobby federal MPs and ministers.

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