Indonesia cautious about East Timor-Australia maritime treaty

Australia and East Timor have signed an agreement that draws the first maritime border between the two nations. (Screenshot: ABC)
Updated 09 March 2018
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Indonesia cautious about East Timor-Australia maritime treaty

JAKARTA: The Indonesian government said on Wednesday that it will weigh up the newly signed treaty on maritime borders between East Timor and Australia, considering the possibility that it may affect its sovereign rights.
The historic treaty was signed on Tuesday at the UN’s headquarters in New York by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Agio Pereira, East Timor’s deputy minister for the delimitation of borders, in the presence of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Xanana Gusmao, East Timor’s independence hero and its first president, was the chief negotiator.
The treaty was brokered by the conciliation commission established under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982. The commission will submit the report of its work to the UN secretary-general and it is expected to be made public in April.
Arrmanatha Nasir, Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in a statement that the government would examine the details of the signed treaty when the documents, which are still confidential, are made public.
“The Indonesian government reserves all its rights against any outcomes that might potentially affect the sovereign rights of Indonesian under the UNCLOS 1982,” Nasir said.
Nasir added that the Indonesian government has closely observed the conciliation process, which ended a long-standing dispute between the two countries.
Nasir said that Indonesia has sought assurance that the conciliation would not prejudice the maritime rights to which Indonesia is entitled under UNCLOS 1982, and that both East Timor and Australia have affirmed on many occasions.
“The Indonesian government welcomes the use of any peaceful means under the UNCLOS 1982 in settling outstanding maritime delimitation between the two countries,” Nasir said.
The treaty will come into force as a law in each country after the parliaments of East Timor and Australia ratify it.
Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement on Wednesday that the treaty opens a new chapter in the bilateral relationship as it delivers certainty between the two countries and provides for the joint development and management of the Greater Sunrise gas fields.
“Australia and Timor-Leste have agreed that we will exercise joint rights over the seabed containing the Greater Sunrise field. Seventy or eighty percent of the revenue from developing Greater Sunrise will flow to Timor-Leste, depending on the final development concept to be agreed upon by Timor-Leste and Australia,” Bishop said.
According to East Timor’s Maritime Boundary Office, the permanent maritime boundaries served as “the final step in realizing full sovereign rights” for East Timor as a newly independent state since the seas which surround the island sustain its people and are integral to their culture and livelihoods.
East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia in a referendum in 1999. It will hold its parliamentary election on May 12 — the second in less than a year — after the government, led by Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and his Fretilin party, failed to secure support in the Parliament and were unable to form a coalition with Gusmao’s CNRT party, which won second place in the 2017 elections.


Ex-Goldman banker to finish Malaysia legal process before US extradition

Updated 30 min 10 sec ago
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Ex-Goldman banker to finish Malaysia legal process before US extradition

  • Goldman’s role is under scrutiny as the Wall Street titan helped arrange $6.5 billion in bonds for 1MDB
  • Authorities in Malaysia and the US accuse former employees of bribery and stealing billions of dollars

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: A former Goldman Sachs banker accused of involvement in the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scandal will only be extradited to the United States after legal proceedings against him in Malaysia are completed, a minister said.
Huge sums of public money were purportedly stolen from Malaysian state fund 1MDB and used to buy everything from yachts to art in a scheme that allegedly involved former premier Najib Razak and contributed to his government’s election defeat.
Goldman’s role is under scrutiny as the Wall Street titan helped arrange $6.5 billion in bonds for 1MDB. Authorities in Malaysia and the US accuse former employees of bribery and stealing billions of dollars, and investigators believe cash was laundered through the US financial system.
Malaysian Ng Chong Hwa, a former managing director at the bank, was indicted in November when US authorities also lodged an extradition request. He has been in custody in Malaysia since the US indictment.
Malaysia also filed charges against Ng, more commonly known as Roger Ng, as well as Goldman.
At a court hearing last week, Ng agreed to stop fighting the extradition request and said he wanted to be sent to the US within 30 days.
But Malaysia’s government must approve his extradition, and Interior Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Ng’s case in Malaysia must go ahead first.
“We will honor the extradition but we will prioritize the case in Malaysia until it is completed. This is the advice of the attorney-general, and we will abide by it,” Yassin said.
Ng’s case will likely come before the Malaysian courts again next month, he said.
Ng was charged in Malaysia in December with four counts related to 1MDB, and has pleaded not guilty. He faces up to 40 years in jail if convicted.
As well as Ng, former Goldman partner Tim Leissner and the bank’s subsidiaries are also accused of making false statements in order to steal billions of dollars, and of bribing officials.
Leissner has already pleaded guilty in the US to 1MDB-linked charges.