Australian PM Abbott insists no argument with Indonesia over asylum-seeker issue
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Thursday said he was confident his government could work with Indonesia despite a senior Jakarta official calling his controversial asylum-seeker policy "offensive".
Indonesian MP Tantowi Yahya, a member of the parliamentary foreign affairs commission, said there were "major concerns" that the policy would interfere with his country's sovereignty.
His comments echoed sentiments expressed recently by Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, who said Jakarta would rebuff Mr Abbott's plans to tow back boats in a military response titled Operation Sovereign Borders.
Under the scheme, Mr Abbott also plans to embed Australian police in Indonesian villages, buy up fishing boats to keep them from people-smugglers and pay locals for intelligence.