Embassy move ‘slap in face’ for Indonesia

Embassy move ‘slap in face’ for Indonesia, by Amanda Hodge.

Furious messages apparently sent from Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to Marise Payne warning that relocating Australia’s Israeli embassy to Jerusalem would “slap Indonesia’s face” and “affect bilateral relations” has exposed the depth of anger in Jakarta over the potential policy shift and the risks to Australia’s most important regional relationship.

A screenshot of the Whatsapp messages, obtained last night by Channel 7, shows a series of four terse messages reportedly sent by Ms Retno, which began: “Is this really necessary to do this on Tuesday” — the day she was scheduled to meet visiting Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki.

“It will be a really big blow.

“It will slap Indonesia’s face on the Palestine issue.”

The series ends with the warning: “This will affect bilateral ­relations.” …

It will also likely affect relations with neighbouring Malaysia, where prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim said yesterday he would expect ASEAN to lodge a “very, very strong protest against the Australian government” if it went ahead with the move.

Naturally Australia should ask permission from Indonesia and other religion-of-peace countries whenever we open or move an embassy.

hat-tip Stephen Neil