Australia and Indonesia restore military ties

By REUTERS
February 26, 2017 05:44
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SYDNEY - Australia and Indonesia said on Sunday that full military ties between the two countries had been restored, after Indonesia’s military suspended cooperation in January because of "insulting" teaching material found at an Australian base.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made the announcement alongside Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who arrived in Australia on Saturday for his first visit as president.

“President Widodo and I have agreed to full restoration of defense cooperation, training exchanges and activities,” Turnbull said at a news conference in Sydney.

Widodo’s visit to Australia comes less than two months after military ties were suspended, an event that sparked a minor diplomatic spat and led to an apology from Australia’s army chief in February. Military cooperation between the two countries has ranged from joint training and counterterrorism cooperation to border protection.

The “insulting” material suggested that Indonesia's Papua province should be independent and mocked the nation's state ideology.

Indonesia and Australia have a history of patchy ties, but both leaders were keen on Sunday to emphasise their commitment to a strong relationship.

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