Tony Abbott to Forget 'Unflattering' Viral Video, Mending Ties With Indonesia
By Reissa Su | June 4, 2014 10:35 PM EST
Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono looks at his wife Ani Yudhoyono as they wait for the arrival of Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta in this September 30, 2013 file photograph. Credit: REUTERS/Beawiharta
After the video clip from John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight" became viral in social media, Abbott is putting behind his "unflattering" portrayal behind to start his international tour.
His increasing unpopularity is reflected in a recent newspoll by The Australian. The poll revealed the prime minister's approval rating fell to 33 percent from 45 percent in November 2013.
Mr Abbott's tour begins in Indonesia on June 4 when he will be meeting Pres. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on the island of Batam. The meeting will be their first in six months after frigid ties amid allegations of Australia spying on Indonesia's prime minister and his wife.
In November 2013, the Indonesian ambassador was recalled after spying claims were made public. It was only recently that the ambassador was allowed to return to his post in Australia.
Abbott has made it clear that he wants to mend ties with Indonesia and ignored revelations that Indonesian media were listening to a private phone conversation between Abbott and Yudhoyono.
On May 5, two groups of asylum seekers were turned back which has added pressure to the already strained relationship between Australia and Indonesia. Following the turn-back, the Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa launched a verbal attack and criticized the Abbott government's boats policy.
Indonesian authorities had previously confirmed the interception of the two boats carrying asylum seekers by Australian naval vessels. About 20 passengers were placed in one wooden boat pushed back to Indonesia's waters.
Abbott told the media that the Indonesian prime minister "is and will always be a great friend of Australia."
Meanwhile, Cambodia has revealed more details about its plans for asylum seekers that will be sent by Australia. Reports said Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong has confirmed people who claimed to be refugees will have to be approved under the 1951 Convention on asylum seekers.
Australia's Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said talks about the arrangement between countries were going well but no agreement has yet been reached.
Refugee advocates had predicted that the planned 1,000 people to be sent by Australia to Cambodia will object to settling in the Southeast Asian nation.
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