World News

Indonesia's President Slams Australia's Abbott over Spying Claims

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is criticizing Australia for its refusal to apologize over allegations that Australian spies listened in on his phone calls.

In a series of Twitter posts Tuesday, the Indonesian leader accused Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott of belittling the scandal and not showing remorse for the alleged spying, which he called "hurtful."

Indonesia has already recalled its ambassador from Australia and said it will review all bilateral cooperation following the revelations.

Prime Minister Abbott on Tuesday told parliament he sincerely regrets any embarrassment the reports have caused his Indonesian counterpart, which he said is "one of the very best friends that we have anywhere in the world."

But Mr. Abbott said Australia "should not be expected to apologize" for what he called "steps taken to protect our country." The Australian leader has not confirmed or denied the reports, but says Australia gathers such information to help its friends and allies, and not to harm them.

On Monday, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalagawa announced the recall of his country's ambassador from Australia for consultations. He said he advised the Indonesian diplomat to bring more than just "cabin baggage," suggesting the recall may be prolonged.

The spying allegations first appeared in reports by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and The Guardian newspaper, which based their stories on secret documents leaked by ex-U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

The reports said the documents show Australian intelligence agents tracked activity on the mobile phone of Indonesian President Yudhoyono for 15 days in 2009.

The reports said the Snowden leaks also show that Australian spies intercepted at least one call involving Mr. Yudhoyono and tapped the phones of his wife Kristiani Herawati and eight other government officials.

Australian-Indonesian relations have been under strain for weeks. Indonesia summoned the Australian ambassador in Jakarta last month to complain about media reports claiming the diplomat's embassy was part of a vast U.S.-led surveillance network.

Mr. Abbott also has upset many Indonesians by ordering his government to turn boats of Australia-bound asylum seekers back to Indonesia. He introduced the policy after taking office in September.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs