16 Jul 2010

Indonesia cool on East Timor refugee centre idea

6:04 am on 16 July 2010

Indonesia remains unconvinced about a proposal by the Australian government to build a refugee processing centre in East Timor.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith spent Thursday in Jakarta discussing the issue with his Indonesian counterpart, and although he came away describing his visit as "productive", he did not get Indonesia's approval for the proposal.

The ABC reports the Indonesia government as saying that it understands the rationale behind the idea but needs to look more closely at the details.

At a joint news conference, Mr Smith said he hoped Indonesia might give the processing proposal the thumbs up.

His Indonesian counterpart, Marty Natalegawa, did not criticise the East Timor idea but did not endorse it either.

"I can understand the rationale and in the days and weeks to come when we delve into it, I am sure we will have more of an appreciation of what it's all about," he said.