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Archive for East Timor

Newsline: East Timorese stone Australian embassy

About 100 protesters in East Timor have thrown rocks at the Australian embassy, with police responding with tear gas as a spying row intensifies. East Timor has expressed outrage over reports that Australia secretly bugged ministerial deliberations in Dili in 2004 to gain leverage in negotiations on an oil and gas revenue-sharing deal. The protest followed a raid on Tuesday by Australian intelligence agents on the Canberra office of a lawyer representing East Timor in an arbitration case at The Hague over the deal. The protesters, mostly students and young Timorese rights activists, carried banners reading “Australia is a thief” and “Australia has no morals”, an AFP correspondent said. The embassy was guarded with just four police until a dozen more arrived and fired tear gas at demonstrators, saying they had no permit to protest. East Timor argues that the 50-50 profit-sharing deal of $A40 billion in proceeds from the Timor Sea’s resources should be torn up because of the alleged spying. The claims that Australia spied on East Timor and Indonesia are based on documents leaked by US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden.


Newsline: East Timor to open embassy in Angola

East Timor plans soon to open an embassy in Angola as part of its efforts to boost ties between the two countries, the country’s business attaché. Elda Ferreira said in Luanda. The diplomat told Angolan news agency Angop that opening the embassy would help to “reinstate privileged historical relations,” between the two countries,,” and noted that the Timorese government had accepted that Angola be included in the delegation of observers of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP) that would accompany East Timor’s presidential elections on 17 March. Ferreira said that the Angolan embassy may also be opened in Dili after the legislative elections in East Timor, in June. In response to Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor Angola allowed Timor to open a diplomatic office in Luanda and raised the category of the East Timor Liberation Front’s (Fretilin) representative office to an embassy, whose ambassador was Roque Rodrigues, from 1975 to 1999. The embassy closed in 1999 due to financial difficulties.


Newsline: Ireland to close embassies to Vatican,Iran and E Timor

The Irish Republic has decided to close its embassies to theVaticanand two other nations on cost-saving grounds. It said the closure of the missions in Vatican City and also in Iran and East Timor would save about 1.25m euros (£1.1m; $1.7m) a year. ButDublinstressed that the move was not related to a clerical child abuse row between Ireland and the Holy See. In July, a report accused theVaticanof aiding child-abuse cover-ups inCork- a claim denied by the Holy See. The Vatican later recalled its special envoy inDublinto discuss the impact of the damning Cloyne Report. “It is with the greatest regret and reluctance that the government has decided to close Ireland’s (embassy) to the Holy See,” said a statement from the Irish foreign ministry. It added thatDublin”believes thatIreland’s interests with the Holy See can be sufficiently represented by a non-resident ambassador”. Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore said diplomats atIreland’s Italian embassy would move into the villa currently used by itsVaticanstaff. Mr Gilmore pointed out that the government had to implement cuts to meet targets set out inIreland’s economic rescue deal backed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Responding to the closure announcement, Cardinal Sean Brady, the ecclesiastical head of the Roman Catholic Church inIreland, expressed his “profound disappointment”. “I hope that today’s decision will be revisited as soon as possible,” he said in a statement.


US embassy cables: Timor PM is a drunk

East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta regards his country’s Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao as an arrogant alcoholic, classified diplomatic cables say. Dr Ramos-Horta’s unkind observations have been revealed in leaked US cables published by WikiLeaks,Fairfaxnewspapers report.East Timor’s Nobel-prize winning figurehead told US diplomats that Mr Gusmao is ‘arrogant but he likes to pretend to be humble’. He had harsher words about the previous prime minister Mari Alkatiri, describing him as ‘abusive’ and someone ‘who doesn’t even pretend to be anything but arrogant’. Dr Alkatiri resigned as prime minister in June 2006 as Mr Gusmao, who was then president, threatened to sack him. The US embassy reports that Mr Gusmao angered Dr Ramos-Horta by ‘turning up visibly drunk’ at a reception in honour of Prince Albert of Monaco on April 6′. The disclosures also reveal how Dr Ramos-Horta attempted to negotiate with East Timorese rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado by asking in June 2007 for the Australian commander of the international stabilisation force to suspend its pursuit of him so the rebel could turn himself in. OnFebruary 11, 2008, Dr Ramos-Horta was critically wounded when Reinado tried to assassinate him, resulting in the rebel leader’s death. The wounded president was treated in a Darwin hospital.



Newsline: East Timor opens ‘gift’ embassy in Canberra

The President of East Timor, Jose Ramos Horta, has opened a new embassy for his young country in Canberra – a gift from the people of Australia. The embassy has been financed through charitable fund-raising. It is thought to be the first time one country has given an embassy to another. But Mr Ramos Horta’s five-day visit comes at a time when relations between the two neighbours are tense. The oil and gas which lie beneath the Timor Sea are a point of contention. Ever since East Timor gained independence from Indonesia in 2002, the negotiations over these deposits, which are potentially worth tens of billions of dollars, have been fractious. Speaking to reporters in Canberra, Mr Ramos Horta said he had safety concerns about an energy consortium’s plan to use untested technology to develop the gas field off East Timor’s south coast. The consortium, led by Australia’s Woodside Petroleum, has proposed building the world’s first floating processing platform over the gas field rather than running a pipeline to East Timor or Australia. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said his government had no preference as to how to extract the deposits, adding the issue was between East Timor and the developers.