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Indonesia recalls ambassador to Australia over spying allegations

Indonesia recalled its ambassador to Australia on Monday amid anger over revelations that Australian spies tried to tap the phones of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife.

Indonesia recalls ambassador to AustraliaEnlarge
Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (R) talks to Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) after a joint statement at the presidential palace in Jakarta on September 30, 2013. Indonesia recalled its ambassador to Australia on Nov. 18, 2013, amid anger over revelations that Australian spies tried to tap the phones of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife. (ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)

Indonesia's ambassador to Australia was recalled to Jakarta for "consultations" Monday after reports surfaced alleging that Australian spies attempted to listen to the phones of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showed that Yudhoyono, his wife and senior ministers were the targets of Australian surveillance.

The documents, cited by Australian Broadcasting Corp. and the Guardian, reportedly showed that the Australian Signals Directorate tracked Yudhoyono's activities on his phone for 15 days in Aug. 2009, and on at least one occasion, tried to listen in.

Natalegawa called the situation, "an unfriendly, unbecoming act between strategic partners."

The Indonesian president also ordered his own security agency to investigate the allegations, including all dealings between the two countries, according to a statement from the Indonesian government.

Relations between the two countries have already been tense over claims of Australia's general spying on Indonesia.

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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott decline to comment on the spying claims, saying the country's relationship with Indonesia was "all in all our most important."

''All governments gather information … and all governments know that every other government gathers information,'' Abbott said.

He said that Australia uses information to "help our friends and our allies, not to harm them."

''My first duty is to protect Australia and to advance our national interest and I will never, ever depart from that," Abbott continued. "Consistent with that duty, I will never say or do anything that might damage the strong relationship and the close co-operation that we have with Indonesia."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/indonesia/131118/indonesia-recalls-ambassador-australia-over-spying