[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Australia PM says Jakarta actions 'unhelpful'

Indonesia stopped working with Australia to end the practice of people-smuggling last month over a phone-tapping row.

Last updated: 15 Dec 2013 11:32
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Indonesians were outraged by evidence that Australia tried to bug their President's phones [AP]

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has criticised Indonesia for suspending cooperation to solve the people-smuggling problem between both nations over a phone-tapping spat.

Abbott called Jakarta's actions "singularly unhelpful" on Sunday and urged the neighbouring country to resume cooperation on the issue of asylum-seekers.

"There's no doubt that the suspension of cooperation by the Indonesian authorities has been unhelpful, it's been singularly unhelpful," Abbott told reporters.

"Given that people-smuggling is a crime in Indonesia, just as it's a crime in Australia, I think it's high time that that cooperation was resumed," he said.

Indonesia stopped working with Australia on the problem of people smuggling last month, following intelligence leaks from fugitive Edward Snowden revealed that Australia had tried to bug the phones of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and family members in 2009.

Mending ties

This revelation drove a nail between the two strategic allies and sparked one of the worst diplomatic crises in years as Indonesia suspended military and immigration collaboration.

People-smuggling is a politically sensitive issue in Australia and Abbott made promises before his September victory to stop boats filled with asylum-seekers from entering the country.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop travelled to Jakarta last week to smooth ties after the espionage row, expressed "regret" and agreed to a bilateral code of conduct to restore trust.

Bishop's counterpart, Marty Natalegawa, said cooperation between the nations would resume when the code of conduct was finalised.

Hundreds of asylum-seekers have died attempting to make the perilous voyage from Indonesia to Australia on rickety, overcrowded boats.

246

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.