Indonesia recalls Australian ambassador over intelligence concerns
Indonesia has recalled its Australian ambassador and is reviewing its ties with the country amidst allegations of phone-tapping by the Australian Defence Signals Directorate (DSD).
The allegations were purportedly revealed in documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the now-infamous NSA whistleblower, where it is alleged that the phones of Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and those of eight other high-profile politicians were tapped.
The documents show details of a specific failed tapping in August 2009 of a call from Mr Yudhoyono who was then in Thailand, as well as a graphic of calls made over 15 days in the same month from the president’s mobile phone.
Foreign minister Marty Natalegawa, who was visibly angered in a press conference today, said that the country was reviewing all of its intelligence-related ties with Australia, and added: “This is an unfriendly, unbecoming act between strategic partners…. This hasn’t been a good day in the relationship between Indonesia and Australia.”
One of the targets, the former minister for state-owned enterprises, Sofyan Djalil, said: “Diplomatic relations always have their ups and downs. This has caused anger in the short-term, but in the long-term we are still neighbours and I think we will overcome this.”
Australian prime minister Tony Abbott declined to comment on these specific allegations of intelligence gathering. He said: “I will never say or do anything that might damage the strong relationship and the close co-operation that we have with Indonesia, which is all in all, our most important relationship.”
As well as being key trading partners, the two countries are linked by immigration and border issues with Australia in need of Indonesia’s agreement on asylum issues as many refugees travel by sea to Australia via Indonesia.