Indonesia, Australia sign intelligence deal

Anagreement signed after scandal last year over alleged wire-tapping by Australia of Indonesian president and ministers.

Indonesia, Australia sign intelligence deal

World Bulletin / News Desk

In an attempt to repair relations damaged by a wire-tapping scandal last year, Indonesia and Australia have signed an agreement to not use intelligence resources to harm one another.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told reporters Thursday that the "Code of Conduct on Framework for Security Cooperation" had been signed by his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Bali.

"It will enter a new phase for the two countries with more respectful toward their respective interests," Marty said, adding that the disrupted communication between the countries’ armed force would be restored.

The agreement focusing on intelligence gathering activities had been sought following damage to diplomatic relations in November amid allegations by NSA former contractor Edward Snowden that Australian intelligence had tapped the phones of President Yudhoyono, his wife and eight of his ministers in 2009.

‪Indonesia halted military and police cooperation when the scandal broke at the end of 2013; Indonesia's ambassador in Canberra also recalled, only to return in late May.

Despite the countries already having a mutual 2006 security agreement known as the Lombok Treaty, Yudhoyono had called for a new agreement by August so the issue would be resolved before president-elect Joko Widodo is sworn in October 20.

"We believe intelligence cooperation between the two countries is working well for both," Australia’s Bishop said Thursday, stressing that the conduct deal is vital for responding to new terror threats.

The document strengthening regional counterterrorism cooperation comes at a time of increased concern over people traveling to and from Syria and Iraq as fighters.

Both Australia and Indonesia are confronted with the issue of nationals joining the Islamic State - a militant group that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq – and returning home.

Indonesia’s State Intelligence Agency has said that as many as 56 nationals have joined the IS, while its Australian counterpart believes 60 citizens have done likewise.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Ağustos 2014, 13:28