Yudhoyono slams Australia over phone-tapping

Yudhoyono slams Australia over phone-tapping

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has lashed out at Australia, demanding an official response to reports of its electronic surveillance as he vowed to review cooperation with Canberra for its "hurtful" actions.

Dr Yudhoyono reserved choice words for Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, saying his comments on the subject "belittled this tapping matter on Indonesia, without any remorse".

The President's remarks, made in seven Twitter posts on Tuesday morning, came a day after media reports that Australian intelligence had tapped the phones of Dr Yudhoyono, his wife and top officials - a disclosure that prompted Indonesia to recall its ambassador in Canberra.

As tensions escalated, Mr Abbott refused to apologise to Indonesia, a step Indonesian officials and a number of Australians felt would calm matters. He said he regretted the embarrassment to Dr Yudhoyono, but insisted that Australia and all nations were entitled to gather information.

"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," Mr Abbott told Parliament.

"Similarly, Australia should not be expected to detail what we do to protect our country any more than other governments should be forced to detail what they do to protect theirs. Others should ask of us no more than they are prepared to do themselves."

In response, Dr Yudhoyono's spokesman told reporters: "The President regrets the attitude of the Australian PM, who did not apologise or give a clear explanation on the matter."

The spokesman, Dr Julian Aldrin Pasha, hoped this stance was "not the final position of the Australian government", adding that "the stakes are very high".

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