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People's Daily Online

Indonesia halts military, intelligence cooperation with Australia

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 18:09, November 20, 2013

JAKARTA, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Wednesday that Indonesia had temporarily halted its military and intelligence cooperation with Australia while waiting for official reply from Australian government upon queries submitted by Indonesian government on Australia's wiretapping on Indonesia.

Besides notifying the people that Indonesia has submitted its official query to Australia upon the wiretapping, President Yudhoyono issued the order to stop several forms of joint military drills with Australia in all forces that include the navy, the army and the air forces.

The president also ordered to stop intelligence information sharing with Australia.

'I have ordered to temporarily stop the coordinated military operation aimed at intercepting people smuggling on waters. We cannot proceed on those activities if our troops are being tapped as well as against us,' the president told a press conference held at the presidential palace here.

People smuggling issue has been a key issue the two countries have been facing at the moment as illegal migrants have keep coming to Australia on boats, made stopover in Indonesia before going to Australia.

Indonesia and Australia have been actively discussing this issue, set up international handling mechanism through Bali Process and establish joint patrol to intercept illegal migrants on waters that separate the two countries.

Jakarta's latest move came after the withdrawal of Indonesian ambassador to Australia Najib Riphat Koesuma in response to irritating reports of Australian and British media about wiretapping activities conducted by Australian intelligence service against the cell phones of President Yudhoyono, the first lady, vice president and several of the president's aides in August 2009.

Indonesia previously lodged a strong protest against Australia and the United States following reports by Australian and German media that the two countries have been using their embassies in Jakarta to extract intelligence information with enhanced wiretapping facilities set in their embassies.

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