TEMPO.CO, Victoria - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has convinced the Australian Parliament to respond "swiftly, fully and courteously" to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY)’s letter over spying, as reported by The Age today.
Abbott has also stated his commitment to keep building close relations with Indonesia because bilateral relations between both countries are crucial.
Hugh White, a professor of strategic studies at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University said Abbott must take significant actions to resolve this problem. "I think he [Abbott] is going to find that something that looks a lot like a back down is going to end up being less painful in the long run. So I think Abbott is in a bit of trouble," he told ABC Radio.
However, according to him, Indonesia's announcement to end military cooperation will hurt the Australian government's attempt to reduce asylum seeker numbers. "It will be harder now to stop the boats," he said.
Previously, President SBY said Australia's spying has hurt the strategic partnership with Indonesia. SBY also deplored Abbott’s statement that spying on Indonesia is not something that has to be taken seriously.
SBY has demanded Australia to give official statement on this spying and has ordered Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and government officials to take effective diplomatic actions.
AMRI MAHBUB | THE AGE | ABC RADIO