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Australia-Indonesia Rapprochement Delayed

Fearing a Diplomatic Embarrassment, Australian PM Tony Abbott Cancel Plans to Travel to Bali to Meet Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Bali News: Bali, Indonesia, Bali Indonesia, Tony Abbot, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesian-Australian relations, surveillance, boat people, Open Government Partnership Conference
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Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbot thas abandoned at the 11th hour plans to attend the Open Government Partnership Conference to be held during the first week of May 2014 where original plans were to meet Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and take crucial steps towards normalizing the currently strained relations between the two countries.

Relations between Canberra and Jakarta soured suddenly last year when Abbott refused to apologize to the Indonesian President when details surfaced of a large-scale spying operation by the Australian Government targeted against the Indonesian First Family and Cabinet members.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the planned formal meeting and tête-à-tête between the two leaders was cancelled due to a developing “on water operation” in which it is expected that an Australian Border Protection Boat will intercept a boat full of suspected asylum speakers sailing between Indonesia and Australia at a time when the planned conference in Bali is underway.

Fearing the coincidental timing of the international meeting and the raid on asylum seekers in Australia could result in potential embarrassment for the two leaders, Abbot decided to cancel his plans to visit Bali.

Relations worsened further between the two countries when Australian Naval Ships made illegal incursions into Indonesian territorial waters in April that resulted in the demotion of a senior Australian naval officers and formal sanctions to others.

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