Indonesia issues warning against Australia`s boat people policy

Indonesia issues warning against Australia`s boat people policy

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa (ANTARA/Ridhwan Ermalamora Siregar)

New York (ANTARA News) - Indonesia has issued a warning against Australia`s plan to implement its policy on boat people, which violates Indonesia`s sovereignty.

Foreign minister Marty Natalegawa reiterated the country`s stance at a bilateral meeting with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop at the U.N. Headquarters here on Monday.

Natalegawa and Bishop met a day before the opening of the 68th U.N. General Assembly.

"We have reiterated that Indonesia cannot accept any Australian policy that would, in nature, violate Indonesia`s sovereignty," he told reporters after holding a series of multilateral and bilateral meetings.

"I think, the message has been conveyed loud and clear and has been understood well," he added.

The two countries` foreign ministers had met to discuss preparations for the planned visit of new Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot to Jakarta on September 30.

Natalegawa further revealed that during the meeting Bishop had explained again the efforts that Australia would take to prevent the arrival of boat people to Indonesia.

"He also emphasized that measures should be adopted so that Indonesia`s sovereignty is not violated," the minister stated.

Meanwhile, Natalegawa also reminded that Indonesia and Australia were jointly chairing the Bali Process--a vehicle set up for countering human trafficking.

"There are steps that we can take, but they should be orderly and respect the two countries` sovereignty," he said.

He added that the boat people issue would be part of the agenda during talks between Abbot and President Yudhoyono.

Efforts to prevent the arrival of the boat people and human trafficking are one of the priorities spelt out by the new Australian prime minister at the beginning of his leadership.

As has been reported by the media, Operation Sovereign Borders Australia will carry out various action plans, including sending back boats ferrying asylum seekers to Indonesia before they reach Australia`s shores.

Abbot has said Australia will respect Indonesia`s sovereignty with regards to the implementation of the policy.

On Monday, Natalegawa also met with his counterparts from various other countries, such as Frans Timmersmans from the Netherlands and William Hague from Britain.

He also attended a "Foreign Policy and Global Health" meeting, based on the theme of "Partnership for Global Health for the post-2015 Development Agenda."

Indonesia has been appointed to head the forum in 2013, which will discuss the linkages between foreign policy and health.

Marty said that as the head of the forum, Indonesia would make sure that health issues continue to be raised within the framework of the post-2015 development agenda.