Australia’s cut to foreign aid for Indonesia has been accepted with a business-as-usual response in Jakarta.
Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said he understood the explanation of Treasurer Joe Hockey – that countries were evaluated on the aid they gave, economic growth and whether they were in the region – before the cuts.
“This is not directed to a single country and that has been kept clear,” he told reporters in Jakarta.
“We appreciate the clarification and we look forward to continuing the strengthening of the partnership between Indonesia and Australia.
Aid to Indonesia – the biggest beneficiary of Australia’s largesse – will be cut by 40 per cent from $605.3 million to $366.4 million in 2015-16.
Mr Nasir said Indonesia’s bilateral relations with any country should be based on “mutual benefit … mutual respect”.
Asked if Indonesia should be proud that it was assessed as capable of withstanding the cut from Australia, the spokesman said it wasn’t an issue of pride.
“Thank God that Indonesia is now in a position where we can give our share,” he said.
“For example, we give aid to countries suffering from disasters, whether it’s the Solomon Islands or in Nepal.”