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Indonesian President suspends military and surveillance cooperation with Australia

November 20, 2013, 11:57 UTC+3

Indonesia gradually marks down the level of relations with Australia

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SYDNEY, November 20. /ITAR-TASS /. Indonesia has suspended exchange of information including intelligence deliverables with Australia, as well as military cooperation. This was announced by the country’s president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who was quoted by Reuters news agency.

“It's clear that this is a logical step Indonesia must take,” the agency quotes the president’s statement. He expressed himself in favor of preservation of friendly relations with Canberra as soon as the spying row is sorted. The scandal between the two countries began when media reported that Australian intelligence services were wiretapping phone calls of Indonesian president and his minions in 2009.

Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa announced earlier that his country marked down the level of its relations with Australia. He added that Indonesia had already made adjustments in different cooperation fields with Australia and noted that the intention was to make it gradually, adjusting his country’s actions to Australia’s position and its response.

“We will continue marking down the level of our relations, and it depends on Australia when this process will stop,” Head of Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry warned.

On Tuesday, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott called Indonesia a friendly country, however, refused to admit the fact of wiretapping and offer apologies to Jakarta. “Australia should not be expected to apologize for the steps we take to protect our country now or in the past,” Abbott stated in his speech in Parliament on Tuesday. “Importantly in Australia’s case, we use all our resources including information to help our friends and allies, not to harm them.”

Australian PM’s view did not satisfy at all the Indonesian side. Indonesian President’s official representative Teuku Faizasyah demanded from Canberra immediate explanations instead of a speech in the parliament that was addressed to an inner audience. In current conditions, it is counterproductive for Australia to maintain a status quo when Canberra neither confirms nor denies reports about phone tapping in the past, Faizasyah stressed.

However, Australian prime minister, though refusing to offer apologies to Jakarta, still said that he sincerely regrets “any embarrassment recent media reports have caused him (the president of Indonesia)”. 

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