When allegations surfaced that Australia had spied on the Indonesian President, his family, and other officials, Indonesia put a halt to some defense and intelligence cooperation, and even called home its ambassador for a short time. Now the two countries have patched up the rift, the BBC reports:
[Australian Foreign Minister] Julie Bishop told the ABC that a “joint understanding” had been reached and preparations to sign it were under way.Intelligence sharing and military and border co-operation would resume when the pact was signed, reports said. […]Bishop told Fairfax Media that the deal – exact details of which have not been released – was a “concise statement of our commitment to respect each other’s sovereignty”.“This means we will not be using our intelligence resources to harm Indonesia’s interests,” she was quoted as saying.
This is an important step. Australia and Indonesia both have key roles to play in the emergence of a peaceful and democratic Asia. Getting this obstacle out of the way is a feather in the cap of the Australian foreign minister and a good thing for the whole region.