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Jakarta Post

Diplomatic row will hurt Australia more than RI, says Kalla

  • Satria Sambijantoro

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, April 29, 2015   /  01:32 pm

Following the executions of death row inmates, President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla have asked the Australian government to respect Indonesian law, which recognizes the death penalty, while also warning that any protracted diplomatic rows will spell negative repercussions for the Australian economy.

'€œOur law must be respected. We also respect the sovereignty of law in other countries,'€ President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo stated on Wednesday.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said his government would recall the Australian ambassador to Indonesia in response to the executions of two Australian death row inmates, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, in the maximum-security prison on Nusakambangan Island, Central Java.

The two Australians were among eight drug convicts executed by Indonesian firing squad at dawn on Wednesday, with the list also comprising citizens from Brazil, Ghana, Indonesia and Nigeria.

Abbott said the executions of two Australian drug convicts marked '€œa dark moment in the relationship'€ with Indonesia.

However, Kalla downplayed heightened tensions, saying that the withdrawal of the Australian ambassador in Indonesia '€œis a normal thing in diplomatic relations".

'€œWe once also recalled our ambassador there, don'€™t forget about that,'€ he stated.

Jakarta recalled its ambassador in Canberra in 2013 amid allegations that the Australian government had spied on then president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife, as well as other top government officials.

Abbott said such information-gathering practices were common among governments around the world and refused to apologize for the spying row.

Kalla, meanwhile, noted that any diplomatic rows between the two countries would have a more harmful impact on the Australian economy.

Data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) shows that Indonesia bought US$1.7billion worth of goods from Australia in the first three months this year, while Australia imported $547.3 million from Indonesia.

'€œWe import more from Australia so if there is any freeze in trade relations, it would be their loss,'€ said the Vice President.(+++)

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