Australia agree 'hotline' to resolve diplomatic spat
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[December 05, 2013]
JAKARTA (Reuters) — Indonesia and
Australia announced on Thursday that they would set up a hotline as part
of efforts to repair relations following media reports last month that
Canberra had spied on top Indonesian officials.
Indonesia has already suspended military and police cooperation
over preventing asylum seekers from setting sail to Australia and
there were concerns the diplomatic row could hit trade relations.
"We have agreed to establish a special communications channel or a
hotline to ensure we can resolve the issues, the implementation and
so that we can avoid any unintended consequences," Australian
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on the subject of military and
Speaking to reporters in the Indonesian capital after talks with her
counterpart Marty Natalegawa, Bishop added, "We are pleased that our
cooperation will continue in economic, financial areas, education
and trade and investment."
But Natalegawa told reporters it was only the start.
"I think today's meeting can contribute to restoring the
relationship but the 6-point roadmap is there and there's a long way
to go," he said, referring to demands Indonesia wants met in
response to the spying report.
The spat and a separate angry complaint from China over Australian
comments about tensions in the East China Sea have tested the
diplomacy of the young government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott
which came to power in September.
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The reports that triggered Indonesia's outrage quoted documents
leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward
Snowden, suggesting Australia had tried to monitor the phones of top
Indonesian officials in 2009.
Abbott later sent a letter to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono promising his country would not take any action that might
hurt ties between the neighbors.
(Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor, Writing by Jonathan Thatcher;
Editing by Clarence Fernandez)