REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA - Indonesian Ambassador to Australia Nadjib Riphat Kesoema has "quietly" returned to Canberra after he was recalled by the Indonesian government in November 2013, indicating that the bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries have normalized.
Ambassador Kesoema and Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop spoke over the phone upon his arrival, and they went a step further when they met in person at the parliament house in Canberra on May 28, 2014, according to Australian media.
Australian news agency AAP reported that the Indonesian ambassador met Bishop for the first time since he was recalled. The talks were reportedly constructive and considered as a significant step towards strengthening relations between the two countries.
In November 2013, the Indonesian government decided to recall its ambassador to Australia as a strong protest over the illegal wiretapping conducted by Australian surveillance agencies that had targeted President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the First Lady, and his inner circle.
Documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal that in 2009, Australias Defence Signals Directorate wiretapped the personal mobile numbers of both Yudhoyono and his wife, Kristiani Herawati, as well as eight others in the Presidents inner circle, including Vice President Boediono.
Following reports that Australias Jakarta embassy was used as part of a US-led spying network in Asia, Indonesia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Marty Natalegawa stated that if such facilities existed, they not only seriously violated the nations security but also the diplomatic norms and ethics. The Foreign Ministry had summoned Australia's ambassador to Indonesia for clarification about the issue related to November 1.
The incident also led Indonesia to suspend normal cooperation with Australia following the latters asylum boat policy. The Indonesian government also demanded an apology and sought the signing of a code of conduct (COC) before they resumed joint efforts on common issues, such as people smuggling, defense, and intelligence sharing.