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Australia back on the Indonesian front page

May 7th, 2014
Migrant issue puts end to Indonesia-Australia thaw

Migrant issue puts end to Indonesia-Australia thaw

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After many weeks of very little coverage in the Indonesian media that country’s relations with Australia are back on the front page.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s attempt to repair strained bilateral ties with Jakarta is being stymied by a recent incident in which Australian navy ships towed back a boatload of undocumented migrants to Indonesian waters and added three extra passengers — including an Indonesian — to the boat.
The incident was brought to light a few hours before Abbott phoned President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono while the latter was attending the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Asia-Pacific Regional Conference in Bali on Tuesday.

… Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said he had been informed of an incident where several undocumented migrants were added by the Australian authorities to a boat and towed back to Indonesia.
“If confirmed, it is a very serious development,” he said.
Presidential spokesman for foreign affairs Teuku Faizasyah said Jakarta was taking the incident seriously and despite Abbott’s conciliatory gesture, an assessment would be made to decide whether the incident would hamper the process of improving relations.

… The two Albanians were heading to Australia from Rote Islands, NTT, on a separate boat. After entering Australian waters, the Australian navy ordered the two and the Indonesian crew member to move onto the boat occupied by the Nepalese and Indians, a police preliminary investigation has found.

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