Australia should be embarrassed, says Indonesia Foreign Minister

Australia should be embarrassed, says Indonesia Foreign Minister

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said on Tuesday that Australia not Indonesia should be embarrassed following the disclosure of a document suggesting that Australian spies had wiretapped the personal phones of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono.

"I don't get it. Why would the President of Indonesia be embarrassed?" Marty said in an exclusive interview with Channel News Asia.

Marty was referring to a statement made by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott earlier on Tuesday before the Australian parliament.

"I believe the embarrassment should belong to the government of Australia. They are the ones […] the intelligence community in Australia […] who have committed this unacceptable practice," Marty added.

Abbott had said he regretted any "embarrassment" caused to President Yudhoyono by claims his phone was tapped, but stopped short of an apology.

"I regard President Yudhoyono as a good friend of Australia, indeed as one of the very best friends that we have anywhere in the world.

"That's why, I sincerely regret any embarrassment recent media reports have caused him," Abbott said.

"Australia should not be expected to apologise for the steps we take to protect our country now or in the past, any more than other governments should be expected to apologise for the similar steps that they have taken," he said.

Yudhoyono has recalled Indonesian ambassador Nadjib Riphat Kesoema from Canberra and said that Jakarta was reviewing its cooperation with Australia.

"I regret the statement by the Australian prime minister that without remorse belittled Indonesia over this phone tapping matter," the President said on his Twitter account @SBYudhoyono on Tuesday early morning.

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