Indonesia parliament hearing on spy issue


An Indonesian parliamentary committee will hold a hearing into claims Australian spies bugged the phones of the president and other officials.

The Indonesian parliament's defence and foreign affairs committee will hold a special hearing into the spying allegations that has caused a diplomatic rift between Jakarta and Canberra.

It's understood the list of senior Indonesian officials expected to appear at the Commission One hearing includes Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro and the head of the State Intelligence Office (BIN), Marciano Norman.

"The agenda will be phone-tapping," a Commission One official said, while also confirming the list of those asked to attend.

National police chief Sutarman and the head of the National Encryption Body, Major General Djoko Setiadi, have also been asked to attend.

The hearing into the alleged phone-hacking undertaken by Australian spies in 2009, to be held on Thursday morning, comes amid continued dissatisfaction in Jakarta over Canberra's response to the spying claims.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has demanded Australia sign a code of conduct that will address the spying issue, also insisting that an agreement must be ratified before relations between Jakarta and Canberra can return to normal.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday agreed with Dr Yudhoyono's proposal that trusted envoys meet to start the process to rebuild ties between the two nations, but the Indonesian president has made it clear he believes a "code of ethics and protocols" is needed to map out the future relationship.

He insists an agreement must be signed by him and Mr Abbott before the relationship can be fully normalised.

Mr Abbott embraced the idea of an envoy meeting although he will take time to fully respond to Dr Yudhoyono's statement over the next few days.

"I think that's a good way forward," he told reporters in Melbourne.

The prime minister said he was keen for a quick resolution built "on a strong and lasting basis" and has proposed the establishment of a security round table, so both nations could build greater mutual trust.

"Obviously, that relationship does depend on a great deal of intelligence sharing," he said.

"I want to deepen and extend that in the weeks and months ahead."

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop could be given the delicate job of envoy.

While her appointment as special envoy hasn't been confirmed, it's understood Ms Bishop is a strong candidate given Dr Natalegawa is likely to be the Indonesian counterpart.

Dr Yudhoyono suspended military, security and people-smuggling co-operation last week after revelations Australian spies targeted his mobile phone, and those of his inner circle.

He welcomed Mr Abbott's commitment that "Australia would not do anything in the future" to harm or damage relations with Indonesia, but the president is believed to be upset by the lack of an apology for the 2009 phone-tapping activities.

Indonesian Industrial Minister Mohamad Suleman Hidayat was quoted in the Koran Tempo newspaper on Wednesday as saying Dr Yudhoyono was disappointed the letter from Mr Abbott did not contain an apology.

"The president is not embarrassed, he's angry. Tell Australia, I'm angry," Mr Hidayat reportedly said.

Mr Abbott has refused to comment on the contents of his letter to the president.

Source AAP

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