News World Australia-Indonesia relations suffer after executions

Australia-Indonesia relations suffer after executions

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Indonesian media has responded bullishly to Australia’s anger over the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran on Wednesday saying there’s “no need to escalate tensions”.

The Jakarta Post has published an editorial likening the executions to Australia’s “disregarded” humanitarian responsibilities as a result of its migrant boat turnback policy.

“In the same way Australia has disregarded international humanitarian pleas not to turn back migrant boats because the Tony Abbott government believes it is in its national interest, so too has the Jokowi administration acted,” the editorial stated.

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The piece also points out Indonesia’s actions were not directed at Australia when it finalised its judicial ruling to execute the convicted drug smugglers.

“There is no need to unnecessarily escalate the tensions, which could jeopardise the bilateral relationships that have been so carefully built.”

Indoensian President Widodo and Prime Minster Abbott.
Indoensian President Widodo and Prime Minster Abbott. Photo: Getty

Australia chilled its relationship with its nearest neighbour, which had already dipped over the planned executions carried out on Wednesday morning.

The recall to Australia of ambassador Paul Grigson from Jakarta sparked a drop in the Indonesian stock market.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has lectured Australia on “sovereignty” in the face of national anger at the deaths by firing squad of the Bali Nine ringleaders.

“This is about sovereignty, I don’t want to answer this question again,” he said, as quoted in The Australian.

ButIndonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsude appeared set on mending fences when she said on Wednesday morning the relationship remains “very important”.

“For Indonesia, Australia remains an important country and for Australia, Indonesia is also a very important partner,” The Jakarta Post reported Ms Retno as saying.

“The recalling of an ambassador is every country’s right, in this case Australia.”

“We received such information through media, but the Foreign Ministry is yet to receive formal communication from the Australian Embassy of such an action.”

Defence Minister Kevin Andrews said Indonesia’s conduct in the lead-up to the executions were a “calculated snub” to Australia.

“The fact that the executions were announced on Anzac Day, the treatment of the families, the fact that spiritual advisers were denied, as I understand, in the last period of their lives, all suggests, or reeks of, a calculated snub at Australia,” Mr Andrews said.

“And if that’s the case then I think that this is a very serious miscalculation on the behalf of the leadership of Indonesia.”

Indonesia's Attorney-General Muhammad Prasetyo.
Indonesia’s Attorney-General Muhammad Prasetyo. Photo: Getty

Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon said in response to the executions “the death penalty has no place in the 21st century”.

He said 117 states voted for a moratorium on use of the death penalty in a UN general Assembly vote in December 2014.

A statement from the UN said Mr Ban “urges the (Indonesian) government to exercise its authority and commute all death sentences”.

Attorney General H. M. Prasetyo said the executions went perfectly compared to other executions in January.

“The result of the second execution was better, more orderly and more perfect than the last,” Mr Prasetyo said.

He put aside warnings that the relationship between the two countries could be damaged as a “momentary ripple”.

“This is a momentary ripple,” he said. “It’s the diplomatic domain. There will be solution.”

The Jakarta Globe, which opposed the death penalties being conducted, called Mr Prasetyo a “gleeful executioner”.

Showing a more conciliatory mood he said “this execution is definitely not something to be happy about, this is an unpleasant matter”.

“However, it is drug trafficking we are fighting, not a certain country or its people,” he said.

Bloomberg News reported that Indonesia’s stock market fell the most since August 2013 after Australia warned the country that the executions would damage relations.

The Indonesian market dropped 4.3 per cent, regaining to a 2.6 per cent fall overall by the close, Bloomberg reported.

While the news about Indonesia’s stock market has been gloomy for some time, the executions weren’t “foreign investor friendly”, Michael Every, head of financial markets research at Rabobank Group in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg.

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