1 Aug 2012

Rescues to be allowed in Indonesian waters

11:07 am on 1 August 2012

The Indonesian government is poised to allow Australia free reign to rescue asylum seekers in Indonesian waters.

defence minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro says he expects a deal to be signed as early as next month which means Australia will no longer need permission to enter Indonesia's search and rescue zone.

The ABC reports hundreds of asylum seekers have drowned off the coast of Java and hundreds more have issued distress calls In the past 10 months.

Indonesia says it expects Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Immigration Minister Chris Bowen to visit this month, with a possible deal to be signed in September.