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Indonesia says reported US, Australian spying damaged trust

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Indonesia said Wednesday that reported spying by the Australian and the US embassies had "hurt our trust" and it would review how it shares information with both countries.

The news came as a senior Indonesian MP demanded that the top Australian and American diplomats in the country, who have already been summoned over the spying allegations, face questions from lawmakers about the affair.

The espionage controversy spread to Asia last week after reports that US missions across the region were being used for clandestine surveillance, and that Australian embassies and consulates were also involved.

On Monday Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa ratcheted up the angry rhetoric, declaring "enough is enough" and suggesting the controversy could affect cooperation between Jakarta and Canberra.

And on Wednesday the government went a step further, saying the reports had "hurt our trust" in Washington and Canberra and it would now look at how it cooperates with both.

"As a sovereign state, Indonesia has a formal framework for cooperation with the countries in question," said presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha.

"The reports have really hurt our trust in them so Indonesia will review how we currently cooperate in exchanging information.

"This is a serious matter and we certainly hope they understand."

But he declined to go into details and refused to say whether whether any formal agreements would be examined. Indonesia and Australia have such agreements in areas including people smuggling and counter-terrorism.

Agus Gumiwang, the deputy chairman of parliament's commission on defence, foreign affairs and information, said he was seeking to have the top Australian and American diplomats summoned to face questions.

He said he would discuss with Natalegawa the possibility of "summoning the (top diplomats) from the United States and Australia to the commission to seek an explanation".

Australia has an ambassador in Jakarta while the United States currently has a charge d'affaires.

The escalating anger in Indonesia came as Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop denied there was a rift with Jakarta over the spying allegations, as she headed Wednesday to the Bali Democracy Forum.

"I don't accept that there has been a rift," she told ABC television late Tuesday.

The annual forum, established by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2008 to promote democracy in the Asia-Pacific, is taking place on Thursday and Friday.

The reports of the surveillance network in the Sydney Morning Herald last week brought the spying scandal to Asia, after they had already soured Europe-US ties.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131106/indonesia-says-reported-us-australian-spying-damaged-trust