1 Oct 2013

Australia to respect Indonesia's sovereignty on asylum seeker issue

12:28 pm on 1 October 2013

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has guaranteed he will respect Indonesia's sovereignty when implementing his asylum seeker policies, while Indonesia has agreed greater bilateral cooperation is needed.

The ABC reports Mr Abbott says he had a "very frank" and "constructive" discussion about people smuggling during a bilateral meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta on Monday night.

After the meeting, Mr Abbott said he is committed to working with Mr Yudhoyono to address the matter.

"We had a very frank discussion about issues of sovereignty... and about issues of people smugglers," he said.

"We are determined to end this scourge, which is not just an affront to our two countries, but which has so often become a humanitarian disaster in the seas between our two countries.

"Much of the detail will be left to further discussions between the coordinating security minister of Indonesia and the Border Protection Minister of Australia,'' said Mr Abbott.

"Australia's got total respect for Indonesia's sovereignty, total respect for Indonesia's territorial integrity.

"But we are resolved together, united, to tackle this problem and to beat it on land and at sea, and at the borders of our country."

The ABC reports Mr Yudhoyono welcomed Mr Abbott's assurance on Indonesia's sovereignty.

"Together, Australia and Indonesia can overcome this issue and the solution lies in cooperation," he said.