• search

Australia says sensitive to tense Indonesia ties

Written by: Staff
|

Canberra, Apr 4: Australia hopes to gradually rebuild communications with Indonesia after a row sparked by Canberra's decision to give asylum to 42 refugees from Indonesia's Papua province, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said today.

''We have to work through this period and I think from our point of view ... we just have to be cautious and sensitive about this,'' Downer told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.

''I think it's just best to take things cautiously and calmly and not rush into anything.'' Indonesia called its ambassador back from Canberra for consultation after the Australian decision last month, and there have been acrimonious comments from politicians and media on both sides.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said yesterday he would review Jakarta's relationship with Canberra, questioned Australia's support for Indonesian sovereignty, and said doubt had been cast on a deal to cooperate on illegal migration.

''I think we just let things plod along for a little while and gradually rebuild our communications,'' Downer said.

''We can understand why they're upset, but of course what we're trying to explain to them is that this has no implications for our recognition of Papua as a full part of the Republic of Indonesia.'' Papuan independence activists have campaigned for more than 30 years to break away from Indonesia, while a low-level rebellion has also simmered. Some of the most prominent support for the separatists is from organisations in Australia.

Human rights groups accuse Indonesia of widespread abuses there, and the Papuans who sought asylum said they feared becoming victims of genocide.

Jakarta denies such charges.

Traditionally volatile, ties between the two countries hit a low in 1999, when Australia led peacekeepers into the former Indonesian province of East Timor to quell militia violence.

But the relationship later improved with close anti-terrorism cooperation after the 2002 bombings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali which killed scores of Australians, and Canberra's prompt aid following the devastating tsunami of 2004.

Australia is also a major Indonesian trade partner, and diplomatic and political analysts suggest the economic and strategic ties of the neighbours are too important for the Papua issue to do serious long-term damage.

Reuters

For Daily Alerts

For Breaking News from Oneindia
Get instant news updates throughout the day.

Notification Settings X
Time Settings
Done
Clear Notification X
Do you want to clear all the notifications from your inbox?
Settings X
X

Loksabha Results

PartyLWT
BJP+8346354
CONG+38790
OTH89098

Arunachal Pradesh

PartyLWT
BJP33033
JDU178
OTH3811

Sikkim

PartyWT
SKM01717
SDF01515
OTH000

Odisha

PartyLWT
BJD7636112
BJP17623
OTH8311

Andhra Pradesh

PartyLWT
YSRCP0150150
TDP02424
OTH011

-
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Oneindia sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Oneindia website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more