Australia's PM, Indonesian president meet to discuss asylum seekers

Sept. 30, 2013 at 3:05 PM

JAKARTA, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Monday he had a "frank" discussion with Indonesian leaders about asylum seekers during his visit to Jakarta.

"We had a frank discussion about issues of sovereignty, and about issues of people smugglers," Abbott said of his talk Monday with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

He referred to the practice of Middle Eastern asylum seekers, attempting to pass through Indonesia to Australia with often tragic consequences, as "not just an affront to our two countries, but which has so often become a humanitarian disaster in the seas between our two countries."

Abbott and his wife Maggie received a full ceremonial welcome in Jakarta Monday. They were to be guests of honor at a gala dinner in the presidential palace, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

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