Indonesia to Turn a Blind-Eye to Australia-Bound Boats


Indonesian police will ignore Australia-bound asylum seekers until President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono restores bilateral cooperation with Australia, the chief of the National Police said in a statement that threatens to further damage ties between the two nations following last week’s spy scandal.

“Surely we will investigate all violations that take place within Indonesia’s jurisdiction,” National Police chief Gen. Sutarman said on Monday. “But if anyone wants to head there [Australia]; it is not part of our authority. There is no more cooperation [in the area].”

Yudhoyono reacted to allegations that the Australian spying agency attempted to tap his phone and those of his inner circle in a press conference last week, shutting down intelligence and people-smuggling cooperation between Australia and Indonesia as local officials review the wiretapping claims. The suspension placed several key programs in limbo, including efforts to curb people-smuggling between the two nations, a hot-button issue in Australia, where Prime Minister Tony Abbott rode into office on the support of a conservative anti-immigration movement.

Canberra has attempted to minimize the impact of the blowback, emphasizing the importance of the Australian Federal Police and Navy’s efforts to combat people-smuggling, but still called Indonesia ” a very, very important partner,” in the fight, according to reports by Agence France-Presse.

Indonesia is a popular way-point for Australia-bound asylum seekers.






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