Indonesia recalled its ambassador and summoned Australia’s ambassador for questioning due to reports that Australia spied on Indonesia’s president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s phone calls and those of his ministers.
The allegations came from documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden which were published by broadcaster ABC and the Guardian newspaper.
Indonesia’s president says ties with Australia have been “damaged” by reports that Canberra spied on his phone calls and those of his ministers. He said the “hurtful action” had led Indonesia to review its co-operation with Australia.
Earlier this month, Indonesia expressed anger over reports that Australia’s Jakarta embassy was used as part of a US-led spying network in Asia.
Australia and Indonesia are key allies and trading partners. Australia requires Indonesia’s co-operation on asylum, as many asylum seekers travel via Indonesia to Australia by boat, but there are tensions on the issue.
Earlier this month, Indonesia declined an Australian request to receive a boat of asylum seekers whose vessel, bound for Australia’s Christmas Island, had got into trouble after it departed from Indonesia.
Australian prime minister Tony Abbott said he regrets any embarrassment to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono over claims his phone was spied on but said Australia should not be expected to apologize for working to protect the nation.