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Australian-Indonesian Diplomacy on the Mend

Return of Indonesian Ambassador to Canberra Signals Thawing in the Officials Relations Between Jakarta and Canberra.

(6/12/2006) Indonesia's Ambassador to Canberra, T.M. Hamzah Thayeb, flew back to the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra on Saturday, June 10, 2006, after being absent from his post since March 24th. Thayeb was summoned back to Jakarta "for consultations" in late March when Indonesian and Australian relations suddenly took a turn for the worse as Canberra granted temporary asylum to 42 Papuans refugees.

Thayeb's return to Canberra was precipitated by a series of meetings between senior representatives of Australia and Indonesia, including recent meetings between Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Hasan Wirajuda and his Australian counterpart Alexander Downer.

Ambassador Thayeb's return to his Ambassadorial post in Canberra will allow final preparations to be undertaken in connection with the scheduled visit of Australian Prime Minister John Howard to Batam (Indonesia) on June 26 where he will hold meetings with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Australians represent the second largest group of inbound travelers to Bali. However, recent events and a souring of relations between Australia and Indonesia have resulted in a downturn of nearly 40% in this market in recent months.