Australia spying on Indonesian President triggers diplomatic tensions

A file photo of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abott.  

Documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealing Australia was spying on Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife have led to diplomatic tensions between the two nations with Indonesia giving a deadline of two days to respond.

Mr. Yudhoyono posted series of tweets overnight attacking Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s public remarks over the spying scandal as showing insufficient remorse, according to media reports in Melbourne.

His tweets signed as ‘SBY’, were understood to be written by him personally in which he said he had instructed Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa on Monday to recall the Indonesian Ambassador from Canberra to Jakarta, calling it an “assertive diplomatic response”.

“Indonesia also asked Australia to give an official explanation that the general public can understand on the wiretapping of Indonesia,” he wrote.

“We will also review a number of bilateral cooperation measures due to the painful treatment by Australia. The U.S. and Australian acts are very damaging to the strategic partnership with Indonesia, a fellow democratic country.

“I also deplore the statement of the Australian Prime Minister for treating lightly the wiretapping of Indonesia without admitting guilt“.

The documents disclosed that Australia attempted to intercept Indonesian president phone on at least one occasion and monitored his calls for 15 days in 2009 and other spying targets included the phones of First Lady Ani Yudhoyono and key government figures.

Ambassador to Australia Nadjib Riphat Kesoema has been recalled and before leaving for Jakarta he said he did not know how long he would be kept out of the country.

“I think a good explanation will be the best way to ease the problem,” he said.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation report quoted Indonesian coordinating minister for politics, law and security Djoko Suyanto, who said he wanted an explanation from Australia “within two days”.

In a national TV appearance seeking explanation, he said, “The problem is that I haven’t received any explanation from the Australian Government relating to the news.”

That’s what the Australian Government should explain, that’s why it becomes a very important message to be explained by them. I can understand the dilemma faced by Tony Abbott because the tapping happened in 2009, not during his administration,” he said adding all cooperation with Australia were now under review.

Mr. Abbott who was asked in Parliament on Monday about the claims of spying, said all countries gather intelligence.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 8:32:01 AM |

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