On the eve of independence for East Timor, the Australian government and the Timorese government are negotiating a landmark deal that will determine the future of East Timor. Tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue are at stake in the Timor Gap, the small sea between Timor and Australia.
Negotiations over the Timor Gap oil fields have a long and complex history, stretching back well before the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975. They are an integral factor in the hot-and-cold relationship between Australia and Indonesia. They also played a key role in Australia’s decision to support the invasion, becoming the only western nation to recognize the occupation.
- Robert Wesley Smith, Coordinator of Australians for a Free East Timor (AFFET).