Australian PM regrets axing Indonesia trip: Jakarta
Published on May 6, 2014 6:56 PM
JAKARTA (AFP) - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott called the Indonesian president on Tuesday to express regret after axing a trip to Bali reportedly due to fears an asylum boat turn-back could inflame tensions, Jakarta said.
The call came as Indonesian officials said a group of asylum-seekers were discovered on Sunday after being returned by Australian authorities, who used a new tactic by putting two boatloads of would-be refugees into one vessel before escorting them back.
At the weekend Abbott abruptly cancelled the visit to a conference on the resort island of Bali, which had been viewed as a bid to thaw ties damaged by Canberra's border protection policies and a row over spying.
Reports said he axed the trip, during which he had been due to meet Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, over fears the ongoing boat turn-back could worsen tensions.
To continue reading, log in if you are a subscriber
Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!