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East Timor News Digest 6 – June 1-30, 2011


Politics & political parties Graft & corruption Border & security issues Mining & energy Economy & investment


UN on track for East Timor withdrawal

Australian Associated Press - June 2, 2011

Karlis Salna – The United Nations remains on track to withdraw from East Timor at the end of 2012 but says international partners will need to maintain a significant presence in the country beyond next year's elections.

The political director of the UN's mission in East Timor, Gary Gray, has also conceded that while the country has largely stabilised since violence in 2006 brought it to the brink of civil war, the peace that now exists remains fragile.

East Timorese will vote in two elections in 2012, to decide the government and presidency, in what will also mark 10 years of independence for the nation.

Many people in East Timor, however, remain worried about the possibility of a return to the violence of 2006, particularly in view of the planned withdrawal of international forces. The UN mission, which includes 1397 police and military advisers, is scheduled to begin withdrawing after the elections.

Mr Gray said there had been a marked improvement in both the security and political environment since the UN took over the functions of the police in 2006. "It's stabilised since the 2006 problems and we're pretty confident that's going to continue and we're going to get through the key event being the elections next year," he said.

But he said it was also understandable that people in East Timor remain anxious about the security situation, and particularly what might happen after 2012.

"I think you do have to acknowledge that there's some continuing fragility there, and in certain institutions that haven't matured and developed yet," he said.

"That's one of the things we're addressing, especially in regard to the police, and one of the reasons why we will continue to have a significant UN police presence there until up to and through this electoral period."

He added that it was because of that "fragility" that it "will be important for the bilateral partners to continue being involved even after 2012in a significant way in these areas".

While Australia has not yet set a definite withdrawal date, East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta has said he wants the 400 defence force personnel still in the country to also begin pulling out at the end of 2012.

Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith said in April that a decision would be made following the elections. "We think, as does Timor-Leste, that the appropriate point to start making judgments about these matters is in the aftermath of the 2012 elections," he said at the time.

Mr Gray also said that it appeared clear from the current political environment in East Timor that next year's poll was unlikely to usher in any new blood in terms of leaders for the country.

Since the first elections, the positions of power in East Timor have swapped between Dr Ramos-Horta, current prime minister Xanana Gusmao and Mari Alkatiri, who was the inaugural prime minister in 2002. "It looks like in terms of the election cycle in 2012 that's what we're going to continue to see," Mr Gray said.

UN on track to end East Timor peacekeeping mission in 2012

Voice of America - June 1, 2011

Brian Padden – The United Nations says that plans to end the East Timor peacekeeping mission in 2012 are on track. The UN took over the functions of the national police in 2006 after riots and factional fighting brought the country to the brink of civil war.

The United Nations has been closely involved in East Timor's development since it gained independence in 2002. The UN sent in security forces to restore order in 2006 when unrest and factional fighting forced 155,000 people – or 15 percent of the population – to flee their homes.

Gary Gray, the Political Director for the United Nations Mission in East Timor, says peacekeeping operations are scheduled to end there after the 2012 presidential election.

"Things have stabilized basically since the 2006 problems and we're pretty confident that, you know, that's going to continue and we are going to get through the key event being the elections beginning early next year," he said.

In March the UN handed-off operational control of the police force to the East Timor authorities but more than 1,200 UN police officers still patrol the streets.

East Timor's government has benefited from double digit economic growth based mostly on the development of a huge offshore oil and nature gas reserve. The project has added more than one billion dollars to East Timor's government budget.

Government officials say there has also been a nine percent decrease in poverty as economic conditions improve and new government programs offering education for all children and expanded health care take effect.

Restoring good relations with Indonesia has removed a potential external source of friction. Indonesia is East Timor's top trading partner. Both countries continue to work to resolve grievances and investigate claims of atrocities and crimes that occurred during the years of struggle for independence through a joint truth and friendship commission.

Gray says progress on victim compensation has been slow in part because of disagreements within the East Timor parliament. "So there is this feeling that before we start compensating people who were victims, we need to compensate the people who were actively involved in the struggle and those sort of arguments are delaying things," he said.

While he remains optimistic, Gray says the large number of unemployed and tensions that still linger below the surface could still shatter East Timor's fragile peace.

Politics & political parties

Australian acquitted of plot to kill wants Timor's top job

Sydney Morning Herald - June 10, 2011

Lindsay Murdoch – The Timorese-born Australian woman acquitted last year of conspiring to murder East Timor's President, Jose Ramos-Horta, plans to stand for his job next year.

Today Angelita Pires will announce the formation of a new political party, and her candidacy for the presidency, in the Timorese capital, Dili.

After Dr Ramos-Horta was shot and seriously wounded in Dili in 2008 he accused Ms Pires of being implicated in attacks on himself and the Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao.

At the time she was the lover of the rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, who was shot dead at Dr Ramos-Horta's presidential compound on the outskirts of Dili. Ms Pires strenuously denied any involvement in the attacks and was acquitted of charges in the Dili District Court.

The presidential election is likely to be fiercely contested and will happen at a critical time for East Timor, before the scheduled withdrawal of United Nations personnel. Dr Ramos-Horta will be the frontrunner if he decides to stand again.

Other possible candidates include Mari Alkatiri, the leader of Fretilin, the country's largest political party, and Taur Matan Ruak, the chief of the defence forces.

Ms Pires is likely to have strong support in East Timor's western mountains, where Reinado was a heroic figure among many young people.

Trained as a lawyer, she has been living in Darwin, where she grew up, for the past 12 months. She is married to the Darwin barrister Jon Tippett.

Timor confronting obstacles to democracy

Australian Associated Press - June 3, 2011

Karlis Salna – With just over a year to elections in East Timor, it appears almost certain the same political players that have dominated its first 10 years as a nation will again be vying for power.

East Timorese will vote in two elections next year, for the government and the presidency. But few serious watchers of the fledgling nation believe the 2012 polls will see any new blood ushered in, including the United Nations, which is preparing for the end next year of what has at times been a fractured relationship.

The UN, which will withdraw from East Timor after the elections, is still on the back foot after just two weeks ago having to explain a document that had described Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao as an obstacle to democracy.

Now the political director of the UN mission in East Timor, Gary Gray, says it is almost certain Gusmao, along with President Jose Ramos-Horta and Mari Alkatiri, the leader of the main opposition party and the country's first prime minister, will dominate the political stage for another five years.

"Certainly that's very much the fact. We're still dealing with that first generation," Gray said this week while in Jakarta. "And it looks like in terms of the election cycle in 2012 that's what we're going to continue to be seeing. Most of the younger people we talk to seem to have their eye on 2017 at this point."

Ramos-Horta, also a former prime minister, continues to give mixed signals about his future. In April, he gave his strongest indication yet that he will bow out of East Timorese politics altogether when his term in office expires next year. "I'm almost determined not to seek a second term," he told AAP during an interview in Dili.

"I'm still in the process of listening to people before I make a decision, like Xanana Gusmao, Mari Alkatiri, the bishops, but also friends from the region like the Indonesian president, the Australians, the United Nations secretary-general."

"All of this I take into consideration when I make up my mind in a few months' time, long before the election. But at this stage I feel that I'm confident enough about the country, the way it is and how it's going that I can say it doesn't need me."

But Gray said recent meetings with the three power players suggested none were preparing to depart anytime soon.

"The meetings we've had recently with Mari Alkatiri, President Ramos-Horta and the prime minister, they seem to still be referring to how they're not so old yet compared to a number of other leaders around the world," he said. "So you don't get the feeling that they're ready to move off the stage at this point."

It's "an issue", Gray said, that others have commented on. "That maybe when that older generation moves on you would have less conflict, because a lot of these conflicts are rooted in the '74, '75 period still," he said, referring to the lead-up to East Timor's declaration of independence from Portugal, and then the Indonesian occupation.

If the president does go, he will not be going quietly. Even before the details of the UN report criticising the prime minister were leaked, Ramos-Horta had taken a parting shot at the organisation.

In a scathing assessment of the efforts of the UN, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and donor countries, the president in April said: "They are the ones that have to answer, look themselves in the mirror and answer" why billions of dollars have been squandered.

"Because if you look at the hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, that allegedly have been spent for East Timor, then we wonder where has the money gone?"

"In this regard, 10 years after independence, 10 years after so much money invested by the donor community, the result is dismal."

"They must ask themselves why 10 years later we don't have a first-class road network, why 10 years later we don't have a modern functioning air terminal, why 10 years later we don't have a modern functioning port, why 10 years later we don't have reliable, cheap electricity for the whole country."

The words have since been echoed by Gusmao in a speech two weeks ago marking the ninth anniversary of East Timor's independence from Indonesia.

He said the "international community" had spent almost $A7.5 billion from 2000 to 2008 but there had been no physical development, adding: "Even more poverty was created in our country."

Gusmao singled out the UN mission in East Timor, suggesting it should focus its efforts on conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East.

"My proposal is this: UNMIT and Timorese experts, offer your services to improve Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and give support to democracy in Yemen, Syria and Libya."

Gray said on Wednesday the Timorese leadership had "some good points in terms of the amount of money that has gone in". "And it should be a continuing debate, whether we can do these things more effectively."

But while the comments from the country's two most powerful political leaders suggest the relations between East Timor and the UN have become even more fractured of late, Gray said they merely reflect "a measure of success" in the mission.

"It's almost natural that you're going to hear this rhetoric, that it's time for (them) to take back control of these institutions as they did with the police on March 27. So I don't see that necessarily in the larger sense as a negative thing.

"And I think that we're also going to be heading into a very heated electoral campaign where inevitably the UN is going to become one of the issues. On the UN side we're certainly used to absorbing those blows and I don't see it as such a serious thing at this point."

Graft & corruption

Emilia Pires acknowledges governance is full of irregularities

Timor Post - June 9, 2011

Dili – At the swearing in ceremony for the national director and department head of the State Inspector General, yesterday (8 June), the Minister for Finance Emilia Pires acknowledged that during the period of their governance it has been full of irregularities, and because of this the inspector general will undertake audits as expected by the state and the people.

"I ask that the State Inspector General investigate the many cases of irregularities that have sprouted up everywhere in the government's administration," said Emilia Pires.

The Finance Minister also took the opportunity to ask those who have been sworn in to work hard to control the budget and fight Corruption, Collusion and Nepotism at all levels wherever allegations emerge in the government.

"You have to work hard to control the budget and fight Corruption, Collusion and Nepotism and investigate allegations that arise within the government."

She said the National Treasury Directorate that registers and orients the budget has a big responsibility to makes payments that have increased a lot in volume.

The swearing in was performed by father Mouzinho Lopes as the witness to those who took oaths of duty.

[Translated from Tetum.]

Xanana 'notes' members of government involved in corruption

Timor Post - June 9, 2011

Dili – Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao has asked the inspector general of the state to investigate some members of government for having committed acts of maladministration and irregularities.

"Humbly yours as Prime Minister, the president of the budget review committee, we know each other, we know each other with the ministers and know each other with you directors, sometimes knowing beforehand that the moenys will exceed the amount required, we authorize the execution of the works knowing there will be moneys left over, that later we go and get what is left over," said the head of government, yesterday at the swearing in ceremony for the national director and head of department of the State Inspector General.

He asked the inspector general of the state to audit the work of all members of government and directors, for example the case involving a Commitment Payment Voucher made out for US$20,000.00, then amended to US$25,000.00, then after US$5,000.00 is pocketed, adding that there are some who denigrate the National Development Agency, but the agency is there to correct many things in the ministries.

"Our society, those of us who have the responsibility of serving the people, we have to acknowledge this, that this thing (corruption) exists," PM Xanana declared. "You (investigators) must not be afraid, go forward and do your work, do not be afraid that just because you earn two hundred and you investigate those who earn six hundred, no, do your duty and audit all ministries."

Now the government has 60 investigators, 20 from the Timor-Leste National Police (PNTL) and 40 public servants who are being trained on investigative and auditing at the judicial training centre, so as to increase the capacity and experience, the Head of Government Xanana asked Ausaid to support their capacity building.

When these investigators are ready from the capacity building they have undergone, the state will distribute them to the relevant institutions like the Anti Corruption Commission and Inspector General of the State to strengthen the system and identify those with long arms.

"Our country has to go on the right track, so that our people can know that we really want to fix our nation," the PM said.

[Translated from Tetum.]

Border & security issues

Military to open Timor border to media

Jakarta Post - June 21, 2011

Kupang – The Indonesian border zone with Timor Leste, which was previously closed to the media, will be opened to journalists, a military commander says.

"The TNI [Indonesian Military] have done many positive things in the border zone but they do not get enough public exposure because of the limited media access," Military Resort 161 Wirasakti Kupang Commander Col. Inf. Edison Napitupulu told reporters in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), on Monday.

However, he said the number of troops, locations of military posts and information about military patrols would remain secret. He also invited journalists to take a tour of the outermost islands in the province to observe troop activities there.

"We have two outlying islands in NTT, one that borders Timor Leste and the other borders Australia," he said, adding that on these islands the soldiers had to climb tall trees to get cellular phone signal to communicate with their families.

Timor Leste's power project on disputed land protested

Jakarta Post - June 16, 2011

Yemris Fointuna, Kupang – Tension is reportedly gripping the Indonesia- Timor Leste border, where hundreds of residents have attempted for the past two days to stop the neighboring country from installing a solar-powered electricity network on a disputed 80-hectare area.

"Indonesian residents living at the border are very angry because the location should be void of civilian activities because it is still under dispute," North Central Timor Vice Regent Aloysius Kobes said when asked for confirmation on Wednesday.

He said that together with Border Security Unit commander Let. Col. Ricky Lumintang and regency police deputy chief Comr. Junirahmadi, he had just returned from the disputed area to appease the crowd, comprising residents of Haumeni Ana village, Bikomi Nilulat district.

According to Aloysius, the Indonesian government will urge Timor Leste to stop the power installation on the disputed land to prevent an escalation of the conflict. "The people of North Central Timor have so far shown patience and restraint," he said.

Separately, Lumintang said he had communicated with the commander of the Timor Leste border police to coordinate a meeting so as to take immediate measures to stop the activities in the disputed area.

"I have contacted the Timor Leste Consulate and conveyed the condition in the field. Hopefully, the Timor Leste government will show goodwill to secure the disputed area together," said Lumintang.

In a press release, Timor Leste border police post commander Alexandre Pinto said that according to information he received from his superiors, the electricity project was located in Timor Leste territory.

"We have not breached the agreement. The power installation is carried out in Timor Leste territory. The installation has been carried out since March. If there are objections from Indonesia, it should go through existing mechanisms, but don't inflame the situation by bringing military troops to the disputed location," he said.

Timor Leste, previously called East Timor, was part of Indonesia until a 1999 referendum resulted in its independence.

The two countries have yet to settle disputes over some enclaves around the border, namely the Noel Besi/Citrana area to the north of Kupang regency (1,009 hectares), the Dilumi/Memo area (37 ha) and the Bijael Sunan-Oben area (141 ha) in Belu regency and the Haumeni Ana area in North Central Timor (80 ha).

Mining & energy

East Timor Wants Shell excluded from Sunrise development talks

Dow Jones - June 23, 2011

Ross Kelly, Sydney – East Timor is calling for Royal Dutch Shell PLC. to be excluded from discussions about the development of the Greater Sunrise gas field, claiming its promotion of floating liquefied natural gas technology represents a conflict of interest.

East Timor has consistently opposed the use of a floating LNG vessel to develop the resource, which straddles its maritime border with Australia, preferring to have the gas piped to an LNG plant built on its coastline. Floating LNG is an untried technology that converts natural gas to a liquid on a vessel permanently moored at sea.

The Sunrise joint venture is operated by Woodside Petroleum Ltd. Shell and ConocoPhillips (COP) are also partners in the venture, which last year selected Shell's floating LNG technology as the best way to develop the gas field.

"Shell cannot independently advocate for the best commercial advantage of the development of Greater Sunrise when Shell has a commercial conflict of interest, " East Timor's Secretary of State Agio Pereira said in a statement.

"Shell decided on the FLNG option and then announced the order of the FLNG units before the debate had ever begun," Pereira said. Shell wasn't immediately able to comment.

Last month, Shell internally approved construction of what could be the world's first floating LNG vessel to develop its Prelude gas field off the northwestern Australian coast.

Woodside's 'cowboy' tactics led to East Timor standoff: Insider

ABC Radio Australia - June 8, 2011

An article from a former employee of the energy company Woodside has labelled their negotiating style "arrogant" and "adversarial", saying it's largely the company's own fault that long-running negotiations with East Timor are stalled.

For years now there's been disagreement about where to process the gas from the Greater Sunrise field off the coast of East Timor, a field which is divided up between East Timor and Australia.

Dili has been pushing for a facility on its shore, while Woodside favours a floating facility, having also previously contemplated piping the gas to Darwin for processing.

Woodside operates and owns 33.4 per cent of the project and has been leading negotiations over developing the Greater Sunrise field. In 2007, Mandy Whyte left her job at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to set up Woodside's social investment program in East Timor. She left 20 months later and now shares her views of what went wrong.

Presenter: Liam Cochrane

Speakers: Mandy Whyte, author of 'Cowboys, Ogres and Donors: A Decade of CSR in Practice – NZ, Australia, Timor-Leste and Indonesia'

Cochrane: Now in the article that was released this week, you described the relationship between the East Timorese government and Woodside as adversarial. How did it get to that stage?

Whyte: Woodside has two attempts at looking at options for the development of the Sunrise gas and I think the first time they did it, I don't think the will was there to look at a Timor option. They pretty much dropped it before they started. When they went back again in 2007, they did put a lot more effort into it, but I think the major problem was that they failed to engage effectively from the beginning it was very much a relationship of sitting at the end of the table and informing and talking about the key points, but there was no real sense of taking people on the journey and as partners and I think that resulted in a lack of trust and lack of transparency.

Cochrane: And indeed you describe Woodside's attitudes towards the East Timorese government in your paper, you described them considering the government as a thorn in the side to use your words as well as devious and untrustworthy. I mean those are strong terms, a very strong attitude for a company to have towards what should be a stakeholder and a partner in the project?

Whyte: Well, I used the term 'thorn in the side' to describe a public relations approach to working with communities, so 'it is a necessary thing to do, we have to deal with the community and meet their demands and concerns'. But taking a more CSR, corporate social responsibility community development approach, then the company has to see their local partners, the host government as a partner and to develop the relationship in the spirit of partnership, not as a supplier or a negotiating role. They really need to engage effectively in very patient dialogue and in effect to empower the local partners, particularly in the developing country environment.

Now Woodside works okay in Australia, but it's not a developing country, it here's a very set of norms and rules around engagement between companies and communities. In a developing country, there is a different environment, different processes need to be employed and Woodside did not do particularly well in Maurotania or Kenya or any other developing country Libya. They need to learn that there are ways to achieve the sorts of outcomes they're looking for.

Cochrane: And you actually say that there are community development tools that are available or at least were available to Woodside that could have prevented this standoff. Can you give me an example of some of the practical things the company might have done to have a better relationship with the government and the community at this point?

Whyte: Yeah, I guess the main thing is education. One of the things that companies have traditionally done is to inform. They put out document that give people bits and pieces of information. The first thing is to educate, educate, educate, consult, engage, help people to understand what is going on and a lot of people in Timor have got a very unrealistic expectation, they have a really understanding of what the development of the Sunrise Gas field will do for them, what it involves. I had people come up to me in the street can I have a job on your building the pipeline and I mean this is a deep sea pipeline that will be laid by a barge, it won't bebuilt with picks and shovels as some people had expected.

Cochrane: So you're saying that Woodside needed to educate people more, it needed to explain the project and perhaps some of the benefits in a more realistic way. What about as far as sharing the wealth around and sort of telling people about how the wealth might be shared around?

Whyte: Well, I guess that's what I'm saying educating people, engaging them on a process and helping them understand that this is not going to be a panacea for the economic health of Timor Leste, this is going to produce a few jobs and it's going to have some impact. But gaining, a realistic view of what the benefits of that impact is going to be and some of aren't going to be particularly positive.

Cochrane: Can you expand on that, what things are not going to be positive that people in East Timor should know about?

Whyte: Well first of all, there under the expectation that there will be a large number of jobs, there may or may not. Let me just go back to the tools. I said education is absolutely critical and I think the government needs, the company needs to go back and start to fully engage with the community and the government and help people really understand what they're doing and why they're doing it and how they're doing it. But they also need to look at the Timor option and one of the things they did a Perth based study of the Timor option, but they did much more comprehensive studies of the Darwin option and the floating option. If they had invited Timor Leste to participate in that process and put up their own bids, I think there would have been an opportunity to compare the Timor option and get a much more full picture of the risks and ill affects associated with it and also social assesment. It was something that was never fully done. A local organisation here did a preliminary social assessment that did demonstrate that there would be some things, but it also did bring some risks for local people as well. It in fact couldn't get the number of jobs. I think if the company had done a lot more research and then put that research out to the community, a huge amount of misinformation here in the media about the project and yet rather than coming in and saying hang on people, let's get the story straight, they've really remained silent.

Cochrane: Why did you choose to release this paper now?

Whyte: I actually wrote it a couple of years ago and sat on it, but I've been back in Timor for the last year and I've just watched this impasse, I've watched the same scenario play itself out. Back in 2007, I said to the company this is inevitable. The writing is really on the wall if you don't engage in a way that is more empowering and more transparent and more participatory and really build a partnership, then you're not going to get past this previous history of mistrust and a sense that the company's been misleading.

Cochrane: And, of course, that standoff has become quite entrenched for a long time now and the Foreign Minister of East Timor said recently that he expressed some hope that negotiations might move forward under some new leadership from Woodside. He said that he's looking forward to not just one side bringing one idea and the other side bringing one idea and then bumping heads at the table, but the new ideas and new leadership might actually progress at the negotiations. Do you have any optimism that those negotiations will be furthered?

Whyte: I guess it depends on the approach that the new CEO of Woodside wants to take, I mean if he wants to continue the same approach that was taken previously, then I think they're just going to remain at loggerheads. I mean obviously there's an interest on both sides to progress the development, I think they need to get back to the drawing board and to rethink the approach.

Economy & investment

East Timor moves to revise petroleum fund law

ABC Radio Australia - June 14, 2011

East Timor's Council of Ministers has approved revisions to the Petroleum Fund Law that will see one of the smallest countries in the world move its money out of the world's biggest economy, the United States.

Revenue from oil and gas exploration and drilling forms the bulk of East Timor's budget. As the law stands now, the country invests 90 per cent of its money in US treasury bonds and 10 per cent in different assets.

The change to law still needs to be approved by the National Parliament, but if it is, it would see 50 per cent of East Timor's oil money invested in a range of various assets, currencies and regions for diversified risk and greater economic returns.

Presenter: Liam Cochrane

Speaker: Jose Teixeira, Member of Parliament, Fretilin Party and former Minister for Natural Resources, Minerals and Energy Policy

Teixeira: Well if it was only that, that is one of the moves being mooted that'd be fine, because there is nothing wrong with diversification of the fund itself. Certainly it was also our intent when the fund was first established, when we had limited capacity it was our intention to make sure that we one day diversified the funds. That's not our concern. Our concern is with the other aspects, which includes the lowering of the credit rating for which securities the fund can be invested in. Currently it has to be double-A plus rated and one of the proposals as I was informed and as I read is to bring it down to as low as B. There are some other issues that make the fund from our point of view less transparent in terms of its management, and less out of the control of Timorese authorities, and that's a concern for us. Security lending for example is a real big problem for us.

Cochrane: Ok so two issues there, one of them is the more risky investment if you're looking at the credit ratings of B rather than AA-plus. Are you worried that the significant money, we're talking about billions of dollars here, could be put at risk by unsafe investments?

Teixeira: Look the problem you see is this that the global financial crisis has not yet stabilised. There is still a lot of dynamic involved and I think at this stage to start to play games with equities as is proposed, some equities that are non-bond secured, they're non-state sovereign backed, I think these are very risky investments to go into. The advice that I understand that the current de facto government is getting is that you've got to take a long-term view and that you might lose some on the swings that you might pick up on the roundabout. Well from my point of view the fund is far too small right now. We've only got one major production, oil and one major gas production platform, we've got some smaller ones coming on stream but right now there are very, very few eggs in our little basket. Diversification to get better yields annually is one thing, but to lower the security of the investment and to increase the risk is another thing.

Cochrane: Now the other issue that you raised was that of transparency and you've pointed out in press releases over the last week that you've made note of the Finance Minister's comments and the Prime Minister's comments urging government officials to do more to tackle corruption. At this point how do you rate the government's progress in fighting corruption?

Teixeira: It's been woeful, they've stuck their head in the sand, when we were pointing out some of the dangerous aspects of including some of the very, very large budgets that we always warned them would not result in actual service delivery or benefits to the population, and that it'd just be lost in waste and in corruption, we were just criticised as being anti- development. We were criticised as being just too conservative fiscally. Well it's proven to be right in that the services are not being delivered, the major capital investment into infrastructure has not gone ahead, and in fact all that's happened is there's been a lot of waste and leakage, and for them now to be recognising and to be saying we acknowledge that it's there, I think it comes a little bit too late.

Cochrane: Now you mentioned projects not being completed and infrastructure not getting developed. One of the most common complaints from Dili residents that I heard when I visited last month was in regards to the frequent power cuts, the electricity blackouts. Now I understand that the Fretilin Party has requested some contracts and documents that you believe should be available to the government relating to power production. Has there been any development on that, have you received those documents?

Teixeira: I don't think I'll ever see hide nor hair of those. In October of last year our national parliament with the vote of members from the government passed a resolution that there'd be an audit undertaken of those contracts as well as the investment that's been made, the budget that's been spent. And all that we got almost two months late was more in terms of a very shallow sort of study or assessment of the sector. And yet still no reference in detail of any of the contractual documents being made available. This is something that we'll continue to insist on, and we are seeking right now other possibilities, including perhaps taking the matter to court in order to obtain that documentation.

Cochrane: Now to bring the conversation around full circle, we talked about the investment of oil money but of course that depends on having oil money in the first place. Last week on Connect Asia we heard a fairly scathing critique of the energy company Woodside by one of their former employees, Mandy White, she was criticising the way they've handled community and government relations. Do you agree with her assessment that Woodside should shoulder a lot of the blame for the current stalemate over exploring the Greater Sunrise gas field?

Teixeira: Look I'm not going to criticise on events that have occurred during the tenure of this government because we have not participated in the negotiations. All that I can say is that when I was involved with Woodside we initially were confronted with some fairly aggressive and fairly obstinate positions taken by Woodside. We managed to bring them to the table and we were beginning to talk and Woodside was beginning to listen to the options. Now I guess only the current negotiators, including perhaps Ms White and the Woodside people know want went on. I can only say that my experience with Woodside was both negative and then heading towardes positive without necessarily getting totally to the positive.

Cochrane: Ok so you can understand though her comments of at least initially an aggressive approach to negotiating the deal?

Teixeira: Well when you're dealing with big oil you're always likely to come across some pretty obstinate positions. Big oil and small emerging nations are not a good mix for cosy relationships or even warm relationships. There is a power imbalance that exists there and the fact is that they have their goals whereas the government, including this government of the day, and we have a consensus in relation to what happens with Sunrise Gas, we don't have a problem with that, we have many issues that we differ on, but the one issue is that we share the goal. In some respects the government is only carrying forward the work that we began, in many respects in fact. So from our point of view I think I can pretty much see their point and Ms White's point of the obstacles that big oil can be sometimes.

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