29 November 2013

Australia to Gift Hercules Aircraft to Indonesia Despite Cooperation Freeze

29 November 2013


RAAF's C130H for Indonesian Air Force (photo : Bernard Proctor)

The Defence Minister says Australia's handover of an old C-130 Hercules to Indonesia will go ahead, despite cooperation being suspended between the two countries.

Defence Minister David Johnston says Australia's handover of an old C-130 Hercules to Indonesia will go ahead, despite cooperation being suspended between the two countries.

The aircraft flew over Darwin this afternoon and has had its Australian markings removed.

The Hercules has been repainted with flags and symbols of the TNI - the Indonesian military.

Australia originally intended to hand over the plane to the Indonesians at a ceremony this week at Williamtown in New South Wales.

That ceremony had been postponed in light of revelations that Australia attempted to spy on Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and senior ministers in 2009.

A spokesman for Senator Johnston says the C-130 handover will still go ahead.

He would not comment on whether another date had been set for the ceremony or if the aircraft is on its way to Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Indonesia's foreign minister says he has spoken to his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop about meeting to discuss rebuilding the two countries' relations.

Today Marty Natalegawa appeared before an Indonesian parliamentary commission that deals with foreign affairs.

Commission members want more details about a letter Prime Minister Tony Abbott wrote to the president vowing to never hurt Indonesia or the relationship again.

Dr Natalegawa says he is already looking to begin discussions.

"I've been already in touch with Minister Bishop to discuss about the first step, namely for the two of us to get together," he said.

He says a meeting is needed before protocols for future relations can be developed.

Indonesia says it will not restart cooperation on things like people smuggling until a new agreement is signed.

(ABC)

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