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Indonesian-Australian relations nosedive

Indonesia recalls envoy over wire tapping allegations

Indonesian-Australian relations nosedive

Picture: Shutterstock

Bagus Saragih for Jakarta Post

November 19, 2013

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Following a standoff over boat people last week, relations between Indonesia and Australia took a nose-dive on Monday with Jakarta recalling its envoy to Canberra over allegations that an Australian spy agency attempted to bug the phones of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono. 

“Indonesia is very disturbed by this matter. In short, it has not been a good day for the Indonesia-Australia relationship,” Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told a press conference on Monday.

“[The alleged wiretapping] was not a clever thing. It was not a smart thing to do. It violates every single decent and legal instrument that I can think of, nationally in Indonesia and Australia, internationally as well,” he added. 

 Marty said Indonesian Ambassador to Australia Nadjib Riphat Kesoema had been recalled for a “consultation”, though the gesture was clearly seen as Jakarta’s stern rebuke to Canberra following the snooping allegations. The last time Jakarta recalled its envoy to Australia was in 2006 in protest at its southern neighbor’s decision to grant temporary visas to 42 Papuan asylum seekers. 

When asked how long Nadjib would be in Indonesia, the outspoken foreign minister said, “I cannot say for how long, but I told him not to carry only cabin baggage.”

Several international media outlets released on Monday secret documents leaked by US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden which claimed that President Yudhoyono and the First Lady had been targets of Australia’s surveillance operations. The documents were said to be from Australia’s electronic intelligence agency, the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), now called the Australian Signals Directorate, dated around 2009.

Full Story: RI recalls envoy from Canberra

Source: Jakarta Post

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