Newspaper article International New York Times

Indonesia Criticizes Australia over Spying

Newspaper article International New York Times

Indonesia Criticizes Australia over Spying

Article excerpt

The Indonesian foreign minister refrained on Monday from directly criticizing the United States while being more direct in his comments on Australia.

Indonesia's foreign minister said Monday that it was a "bit mind- boggling" that the Australian intelligence agency had spied on his nation's trade deliberations with American officials.

"We should be looking out for each other, not turning against one another," the foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, said. "We should be listening to one another and not to listen in."

The New York Times reported in its Sunday editions that an American law firm was monitored by the Australian Signals Directorate while representing the Indonesian government on various trade issues. A top-secret document, obtained by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden, reported that the Australian agency had notified the N.S.A. that it was conducting surveillance of the talks.

In a joint news conference here with Secretary of State John Kerry, Mr. Natalegawa refrained from directly criticizing the United States, saying that he had been assured that the Obama administration was undertaking a review of its spying practices that he hoped would lead to changes in its approach in spying on Indonesia.

"What I am now anticipating and what I am now understanding is that the kind of refinement in approach, refinement in outlook and practice will be relevant to a country like Indonesia as a partner of the United States," Mr. Natalegawa said.

Mr. Natalegawa was more direct in his comments about the behavior of Australia. The Times article stated that the document did not identify which talks were being monitored, but that two trade disputes at the time were about shrimp and clove cigarettes.

"To suggest as if the future of shrimps exported by Indonesia to the United States had an impact on Australia's security is a little bit too much, and begs some kind of serious question about what this is all about," he said.

In an interview with Australia's ABC Radio on Monday morning, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said: "Australia does need to have a strong intelligence operation. Australian intelligence has been instrumental in the prevention of numerous terrorist attacks including terrorist attacks in Indonesia. …

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