East Timor's Petro Trouble

Australia is claiming Timorese oil

When the U.N. sent peacekeepers to the former Indonesian territory of East Timor in September, 1999, Australian troops were at the vanguard. They helped restore a semblance of law and order to a U.N. protectorate that had been laid waste by the Indonesian military after the East Timorese had the temerity to vote for independence. The Australian government has since spent $500 million on peacekeeping, plus about $40 million on humanitarian aid, from medicine for sick kids to rebuilding schools. In the process, Australia earned the heartfelt gratitude of the East Timorese.

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