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Bali Chosen for Timor Sea Talks

Timor Gap Treaty Expected to be Discussed at February 25th Meeting in Bali.

(2/18/2002) Tri-partite talks between Indonesia, Australia and the Timor Lorosae governments to explore solutions to cross-border issues and formally reopen talks on the Timor Gap Treaty will be held in Bali on Monday, February 25, 2002.

Believed to contain huge mineral reserves, the exploration and exploitation of the sea area between Timor and northwestern Australia is governed by a bi-lateral treaty negotiated between Australia and Indonesia in 1991, prior to Timor's vote for independence from the Indonesian Republic. That treaty, which must now be ratified or renegotiated between Timor Lorosae and Australia, provides for 11 international oil companies to undertake drilling on a production-sharing basis.

Timor Lorosae's emergence as a nation-state now put up for renegotiation are the divisions of territorial rights over the seabed, the size of production shares and, potentially, whether or not Indonesia will continue to share in the gas and oil production pie derived from the Timor gap area.

Timor Lorosae's Minister of Economy, Mari Alkatiri and Australia's Energy Minister, Paul Henderson are expected in Bali for the late February meeting.