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Press Releases - 25th Feb 2005>> 
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Friday, 25th February, 2005.

'HONG KONG' PROPOSAL AVOIDS THE BASIC ISSUE

The Australian Government’s suggestion yesterday to postpone discussions about
permanent maritime boundaries with East Timor for 99 years, simply side steps
the main problem, Australian lobby group the Timor Sea Justice Campaign,
claimed today.

“The Australian Government can dress this up however they like, but the crucial
issue is whether or not the deal will actually reflect what East Timor is
entitled to under current international law?” claimed Tom Clarke, co-ordinator
of the Timor Sea Justice Campaign, Melbourne.

“By conveniently putting off talk of permanent boundaries for the next 99 years,
the Government can continue to ignore the fact that these resources belong to
East Timor. The contested fields would lie entirely within East Timor’s
exclusive economic zone if permanent maritime boundaries were established in
accordance with International Law” Tom Clarke continued.

Maritime boundary negotiations between East Timor and Australia are scheduled to
resume in Canberra on the 7th of March. Since the talks collapsed last year
when the Australian Government put a nonnegotiable offer on the table that
failed to adequately recognise East Timor’s rightful entitlement, both
countries have now agreed to explore further ‘creative’ solutions.

The Australian Government’s claim that 80% of the Greater Sunrise gas field lies
within Australian territorial waters also came under fire from the Timor Sea
Justice Campaign.

“The Australian Government doesn’t have a solid legal claim over Greater
Sunrise. If it was in anyway confident of it’s legal position, the Australian
Government wouldn’t be so scared of settling this matter with independent
arbitration” finished Tom Clarke.

An open letter to the Australian Government's negotiating team demanding that
East Timor get its just share of Timor Sea royalties, is gaining support from a
number of prominent Australians from various backgrounds and professions.

For further information, please contact:

Tom Clarke,
Co-ordinator, Timor Sea Justice Campaign Melbourne.
0422 545 763
www.timorseajustice.org

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