Jakarta warns Australia that boat turn-backs must not violate its sovereignty
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has hailed "very productive" talks with her Indonesian counterpart on the fraught issue of turning back asylum-seeker boats to the sprawling archipelago.
However, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told her bluntly that Jakarta would not tolerate any Australian policy that violated its sovereignty.
Australia's new conservative government hopes to deter asylum-seekers from taking people- smuggling boats with the threat of towbacks. Most of the boats set sail from Indonesia or use it as a jumping-off point for Australia.
Bishop said she had spoken to Natalegawa in New York on Monday about Australia's plans for a military-led operation to shut down people-smuggling networks, which includes forcing their boats to turn around when conditions are safe.
"I am not going into the operational details of our policy, but I had a very broad-ranging discussion with ... Natalegawa and I am confident that we will be able to implement our policies," Bishop said.
Natalegawa said "Indonesia cannot accept any Australian policy that would, in nature, violate [our] sovereignty". "I think, the message has been conveyed loud and clear and has been understood well," he said.
Asked whether Natalegawa had indicated that he was unhappy with Australia's plan, Bishop said: "There can be some misunderstanding as to what our policy is, and it is certainly not to, in any way, show disrespect for Indonesian sovereignty."