Furore over Australian asylum seekers policy ahead of Abbott's Jakarta visit
CANBERRA (AP) - A furore over Australia's policy of turning boats full of asylum seekers back to Indonesia has erupted ahead of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's first visit as Australian leader to its important neighbour.
Indonesia has warned that the Australian navy's plan to intercept and force back Indonesian fishing boats crowded with asylum seekers from countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, Vietnam and Myanmar could breach Indonesian sovereignty.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa drove home that message in a meeting with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop in New York this week.
Indonesia feared such "unilateral measures" would "risk the close collaboration and trust" between the countries on combating people smuggling and "therefore should be avoided," according to notes on Monday's meeting released by Indonesia's Foreign Ministry.