Jakarta – East Timorese students are calling on Australia to leave East Timor's territorial waters accusing the Kangaroo Country of too long exploiting and profiting from East Timor's natural wealth.
This was articulated by students from East Timor from the East Timor Student's Association (Klibur Estudiante Timor Leste, Keustil) at a demonstration in front of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta on Thursday March 24.
The protest action was similar to those held by their sisters and brothers in East Timor over the last few days. "We demand Australia [leave] because it has sabotaged our territorial waters and taken [our] oil from East Timor's territory", explained action coordinator Nelson Pereira.
According to Nelson, starting in 1971 Australia began holding illegal negotiations with Indonesia over the maritime area referred to as the Timor Gap without ever inviting the people of then Portuguese Timor to participate. "The result of the negotiations which took place in November 1973 was that Australia obtained the bulk of the benefits from these negotiations", he explained.
Nelson went on to explain that despite the August 30, 1999 referendum in which the Maubere (Timorese) people decided to separate from Indonesia, Australia continued to use the maritime boundary agreements with Indonesia in 1971 and 1972 without automatically setting a new maritime boundary. "So based on this, the agreement that has continued to be used up until this day is in fact illegal", asserted Nelson.
With regard to the exploitation of oil, Nelson explained that the Laminaria-Carollina oil fields have been exploited by more than 100 million barrels by Australian Petroleum, BHP and Shell. "The Australian government received profits of US$900 million which were never enjoyed by the Timorese people. And these oil reserves are almost exhausted", he explained.
Because of this therefore, the protesters are challenging Australia to prove itself as a big country which says it is ready to help developing nations in the Asia Pacific without conditions or ill intentions. "So this open hearted country doesn't become a country of hypocrisy", said Nelson. (rmol/dil/jpnn)
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was "Gelar Aksi di Jakarta, Mahasiswa Timor Leste Tuntut Australia Hengkang".]