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Monday, Jun 2, 2014

Asia

Australian PM to meet Indonesia counterpart in Batam

AFP | Monday, Jun 2, 2014

This file photo taken on September 30, 2013 shows Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (R) talking to Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) after a joint statement at the presidential palace in Jakarta.

SYDNEY - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will meet Indonesia's president this week, his office said Monday, as he tries to repair relations hurt by spying allegations and boatpeople turnbacks.

Abbott will stop on the Indonesian island of Batam on Wednesday, en route to the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France, to hold talks with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

"Further to their very cordial conversation last month, the prime minister will spend time with President Yudhoyono and continue the progress that has been made to resolve current issues and to strengthen the bilateral relationship," Abbott's spokesman said.

The Australian leader called Yudhoyono in May after abruptly cancelling a trip to the resort island of Bali.

The cancellation was reportedly sparked by fears an asylum boat turnback could inflame tensions.

After the phone call, Indonesia said it was returning its envoy to Australia in a sign of easing tensions.

The ambassador had been recalled in November following reports that Australian spies were monitoring the phones of Yudhoyono and his inner circle.

Jakarta has also expressed frustration with Canberra's tough immigration policy, which has seen the turnback of some boats carrying asylum-seekers from Indonesia towards Australia.

Tensions were further inflamed after the Australian navy admitted entering Indonesia's territorial waters during some of the turnback operations.

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