Yudhoyono seems satisfied with Abbott's response

Yudhoyono seems satisfied with Abbott's response

Although he had indicated that his Australian counterpart had not fully responded to his demand for a full answer concerning wiretapping allegations, as conveyed in his letter to the Australian leader last week, overall President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono felt encouraged by Tony Abbott's promise that such a practice would not happen in the future.

Surprisingly, apart from talking about Australia, Yudhoyono also said he had ordered Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa to summon the ambassadors of Singapore and South Korea over media reports that their governments had also engaged in wiretapping here.

The President also implied that Abbott did not apologise for the bugging of telephone conversations of several top Indonesian officials, including spying on the President himself and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono. Many Indonesians have insisted that Australia apologise for the blatant violation of Indonesia's trust.

The President also pointed out that he would send a special envoy to settle all problems caused by the espionage conducted by the Australian intelligence agency, and that further discussions between the two countries were still important to restore the relations between the two members of the G20.

Speaking to reporters after presiding over a Cabinet meeting to discuss Abbott's recent letter, the President cited several important points from the newly elected prime minister's reply to his answer, including Australia's strong commitment to boosting relations with Indonesia.

Quoting Abbott's letter, Yudhoyono quoted three basic and important points: that Australia had agreed to Yudhoyono's proposal to reshape the cooperation framework, including the exchange of intelligence, by drafting a protocol; Abbott's commitment not to do anything that could be harmful to Indonesia; and Australia's wish to maintain good relations with Indonesia.

"Nevertheless, it still seems there are some things that need to be clarified by Australia," said Yudhoyono, adding that he "expected a constructive response from Abbott and the Australian government".

The future of Indonesia-Australia bilateral ties now depends on how well the two countries draft and implement the code of conduct for cooperation following the allegations of wiretapping the phones of the President, the First Lady and some Cabinet members in 2009.

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