News National PM eats informally with SBY

PM eats informally with SBY

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott has moved on from his bridge-building visit to Indonesia to the next leg of his overseas business and security mission, in France.

Mr Abbott visited Batam, Indonesia, on Wednesday where he had a 45-minute talk with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and attended an informal dinner.

The meeting was aimed at repairing ties that sunk to their lowest point for years in November after reports that Australian spies had targeted the phones of Dr Yudhoyono’s inner circle.

Following the meeting, both leaders expressed a wish to finalise a code of conduct on intelligence gathering soon – and to move on.

Dr Yudhoyono, who leaves office later this year, wants it done by August, and Mr Abbott says it will likely happen within weeks, when foreign ministers Julie Bishop and Marty Natalegawa next meet.

Dr Natalegawa, who has cautioned that the code is just one step on a path towards restoring co-operation in areas frozen after the spy scandal, says he will do his best to achieve the president’s aim.

“But the most important thing is about our national interest,” he told reporters in Batam.

“The principle is actually very easy and simple – that both governments should not tap each other.”

From Indonesia, Mr Abbott will visit France, to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings and Normandy campaign.

He will join French President Francois Hollande and other heads of government for commemorative services, along with seven Australian D-Day veterans.

The prime minister then travels to Canada and the US to hold formal talks with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and US President Barack Obama.

There he will be accompanied by a business delegation to strengthen trade and business ties between our countries.