Indonesian politician slams Abbott's 'offensive' asylum seeker policies as attack on country's sovereignty

Sydney, Sept. 19 (ANI): A senior Indonesian lawmaker has said Australian government's policy on asylum seekers will damage bilateral relations between the countries.

Parliamentarian Tantowi Yahya described newly-elected Prime Minister Tony Abbott's asylum seeker policies as 'very offensive' and an attack on his country's sovereignty.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the comment by Yahya is the latest in a series of slights to one of Abbott's signature policies.

Abbott will visit Jakarta on September 30 with Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to explain his policies to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

He has also reportedly asked Australia's ambassador to Indonesia, Greg Moriarty, to return from Jakarta to brief the National Security Committee of cabinet on the issue of asylum seekers, the report said.

Tantowi, who is responsible for Indonesia's foreign affairs, said that his country would not accept Abbott's boat tow-back policy.

A senior Indonesian political source said the problem was not just with the tow-back policy, but with other aspects of Abbott's plan.

The source said that it is against Indonesia's interests if other countries conduct activities which breach the country's sovereignty, such as the idea of buying boats and of intelligence gathering in villages.

The source added that to pay people for information, it would not be considered wise. Can you imagine if a country paid someone in Australia for information on pro-Papua separatism?

Indonesia has been consistent in its message that it wants solutions to Australia's asylum seeker problem that are multilateral, not unilateral, the report said.

Abbott has consistently said the relationship with Indonesia is the most important in the region and that he would run a foreign policy with a 'Jakarta, not a Geneva' focus, it added.(ANI)


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