Indonesia Still Seeking Explanation from Australia for Spying; Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop to Jakarta for New Code of Conduct Discussion

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By Vittorio Hernandez | December 5, 2013 9:46 AM EST

Although the furor over the spying row between Australia and Indonesia has been reduced, the diplomatic impasse is far from resolved as Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa insisted on an explanation for Canberra's wiretapping on the mobile phones of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and several other officials.


Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will leave for Jakarta on Thursday to discuss how to mend the deadlocked diplomatic ties between the two neighbours and tackle the proposed codes of conducts.

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop speaks with an official during a pre- Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting foreign minister's meeting in Colombo. November 13, 2013.

With her is Dennis Richardson, the former chief of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, now the defence minister.

Although Mr Natalegawa is hopeful the discussions would be constructive, he said the burden lies with Canberra on how it would respond to a six-point plan crafted by Jakarta to repair damaged relations.

Mr Natalegawa said, quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald, "Up to now, it has always been the case that Indonesia and Australia are very close and very pragmatic when dealing with one another ... We need to draw a line and move forward, but before we move forward, we have to be informed about what happened in the past, and be assured that there's no more surprises, no more shocks to the system."

The talks between him and the Australian delegation would seek to first address sensitive issues as a pre-condition before they move on to the planned codes of conduct.

After the codes are written and implemented, Indonesia would evaluate Australia's response which would be the basis if it would agree to bring back police and military cooperation with its spying neighbour.

Mr Johnston said, quoted by SBS, "Defence cooperation with Indonesia is important to the core security interests of both our countries and despite the recent suspension by Indonesia of a number of bilateral activities, this government remains committed to strengthening and deepening the defence relationship. It will take some time for current issues in bilateral relations to be worked through, but they will be resolved over time."

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