It's Jakarta's Fault More Asylum Seekers Have Arrived Recently: Abbott

Susilo Bambang YudhoyonoAustralian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks during a joint news conference as Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono looks on at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on September 30, 2013. Getty/Oscar Siagian

Australia’s prime minister says more asylum seekers began to arrive after Indonesia halted co-operation in the wake of a spying scandal.

In an interview with The ABC, Tony Abbott said there had been an “uptick” in the number of asylum seekers reaching Christmas Island in recent weeks.

Indonesia halted joint operations after it was revealed in media reports an Australian spy agency had intercepted the Indonesian president’s phone calls.

“I think one of the reasons why there has been an uptick in boats over the last couple of weeks has been because of this suspension,” Abbott told The ABC.

“People smuggling is a crime in Indonesia, and I do think that Indonesia should resume co-operation with us. We are certainly being as good a friend as we humanly can to Indonesia, and I think that it would be the act of a good friend to swiftly resume anti-people smuggling co-operation.

If we can ensure boats don’t leave Australia for West Papua to embarrass the Indonesians, well, similarly, there’s more that Indonesia can do to help us here.”

Meanwhile, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has said he want to restore the relationship between Australia and Indonesia before his term in office expires next year.

A diplomatic row ensued after it was revealed the spies from the then-named Defence Signals Directorate tapped Yudhoyono’s phone, along with mobiles belonging to members of his inner circle, and his wife.

There’s more here.

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