News National PM gets letter from Indon President over spying stoush
Updated:

PM gets letter from Indon President over spying stoush

Getty Images
Share
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Updated 9.36am

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has told Parliament he has received a letter from the Indonesian president in the latest development in the stoush between the two countries over phone tapping.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono yesterday suspended military and intelligence cooperation with Australia, particularly in relation to efforts to curb people-smuggling.

An angry Mr Yudhoyono also announced he would write to Mr Abbott demanding an official explanation for why Australian spies tapped his phone and those of his inner circle, including his wife’s, in 2009.

Mr Abbott says he will respond to the letter quickly and courteously.

“I want to assure the House that the Government will respond swiftly, fully and courteously to the president’s letter,” he said.

“As always, my intention is to do everything I reasonably can to strengthen this relationship which is so important to both our countries.

“I want Australia to remain Indonesia’s trusted partner now, and in the future.”

Mr Abbott is under mounting pressure to apologise to Indonesia after receiving a letter from the president, seeking a full explanation and an apology.

Appeal for an apology

Early on Friday, Indonesia’s former intelligence chief says the diplomatic row with Australia can be resolved with an apology from Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

“Just apologise and … forgive and forget,” Abdullah Mahmud Hendropriyono told the ABC.

Mr Hendropriyono admitted in a 2004 television interview that Jakarta had spied on Australia.

With the boot on the other foot, he says there must be an openness to investigating allegations Australia’s electronic spy agency in 2009 tapped the personal phone of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and members of his inner circle, including the president’s wife.

Mr Abbott is under mounting pressure to apologise to Indonesia after receiving a letter from the president, seeking a full explanation and an apology.

Time for careful diplomacy: Shorten

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said it was “time for temperate language and carefully calibrated discussion with our Indonesian colleagues”.

“The seriousness of this matter, or the sense of offence that our Indonesian friends are feeling, mean that we must redouble our efforts to return to a positive and constructive dialogue between our governments,” he added.

Indonesia’s former intelligence chief has said the diplomatic row could be resolved with an apology from Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

“Just apologise and … forgive and forget,” Abdullah Mahmud Hendropriyono told the ABC.

Mr Hendropriyono admitted in a 2004 television interview that Jakarta had spied on Australia.

With the boot on the other foot, he says there must be an openness to investigating allegations Australia’s electronic spy agency in 2009 tapped the personal phone of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and members of his inner circle, including the president’s wife.