'Outrageous': Jose Ramos Horta lashes out at Australia over East Timor 'failed state' fears


'Outrageous': Jose Ramos Horta lashes out at Australia over East Timor 'failed state' fears
  1. 'Outrageous': Jose Ramos Horta lashes out at Australia over East Timor 'failed state' fears
    theage.com.au
    East Timorese leader Jose Ramos Horta has lashed out at what he calls "outrageous" claims before an Australian parliamentary…
    Health

Dili: East Timorese leader Jose Ramos Horta has lashed out at what he calls "outrageous" claims before an Australian parliamentary committee that his country could be heading towards becoming a failed state.

"What fly-in-fly out so-called instant experts on East Timor claim is outrageous…it's just nonsense," Dr Ramos Horta, a Nobel laureate and East Timor's former president and prime minister, told Fairfax Media.

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Timor Leste elections: citizens cast vote

It is the first presidential election since the departure of United Nations peacekeepers in 2012.

"It's either ignorance or malice," he said, adding "I'm sorry. I don't pay much attention to these so-called academics."

Rebecca Strating, a lecturer at Victoria's Latrobe University, told parliament's treaties committee on 14 March it could "very well be" that East Timor is the "architect of its own demise" and there are indications that like a number of fragile resource-wealthy post-conflict states" the country is "resource cursed."

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She said a window on developing the $US40 billion Greater Sunrise oil and gas field in the Timor Sea has "partially" closed because of lower gas prices and a long-running dispute with Australia over how to develop it.

"There are elections this year…a change of government or a change in personalities might produce a government that is willing to think a little more laterally or flexibly around the interests in the Timor Sea," Dr Strating said.

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"But since 2012 it seems to me that this pursuit of independence may actually create a failed state in Timor-Leste (East Timor)," she said.

In response, Hansard records the chair of the committee chair telling Dr Strating "tremendous…most enlightening. 'The architect of their own demise' is my favourite statement of the day."

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Jose Ramos Horta in Dili Timor-Leste Jose Ramos Horta in Dili Timor-Leste Photo: Timor Photography/Wayne Lovell

Speaking after East Timorese voted at presidential elections on Monday, Dr Ramos Horta said his country's sovereign wealth fund has US$16 to $17 billion invested in US bonds and 1000 portfolios around the world and is spending some of it to develop badly needed infrastructure, such as roads.

He said the government in Dili is talking with a consortium led by ConocoPhillips to resurrect shelved plans to develop Greater Sunrise before negotiations with Australia on …

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