News / Asia

Indonesian FM: Relations with Australia in 'Difficult Phase'

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa delivers a speech at his office in Jakarta, Jan. 7, 2014.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa delivers a speech at his office in Jakarta, Jan. 7, 2014.
Reuters
In an annual speech on Monday, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa again spoke of his country's relationship with Australia after a rift over reports Canberra spied on its officials.
 
Natalegawa acknowledged that Indonesia's relationship with Australia was still in a “difficult phase.” He said he was in daily contact with Australia's foreign minister, Julie Bishop, in an effort to repair the damage.
 
“What's needed is a gradual process of restoration of confidence, of trust, and this is where we are just now,” said Natalegawa.
 
He also expressed confidence that the relation would get back on track.
 
“I am of the view that this is an aberration and not the rule, and that in due course the relation will be back to where it has been in the recent past,” he added.
 
The foreign minister again warned Australia not to turn back asylum seeker boats, an especially prickly issue after a stand-off in November when Australia tried to force a vessel back into Indonesian waters.
 
“Let me just once again put on record our rejection of the policy that resembles pushing back the boat. Because such a policy is not actually conducive to a comprehensive solution to the issue,” said Natalegawa.
 
In November’s incident the Australian government backed down after Indonesia refused to accept the asylum seekers, who were eventually transferred to Christmas Island.
 
Also complicating relations between Jakarta and Canberra lately has been reports of Australian spying on Indonesia, including monitoring the phone calls of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the first lady, the vice president and other senior ministers. The spying allegations were first reported in Australian media after documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden were made available.
 
Indonesia suspended military cooperation with Australia over the alleged spying, which is said to have taken place in 2009.
 
The row has strained relations between the two allies, whose relationship includes cooperation on asylum seekers and anti-terror efforts.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid