Australian PM to Indonesia: We’re Not Sorry Over Snooping

Indonesian President vents on Twitter after Abbott stops short of apology

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Dinuka Liyanawatte / Reuters

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott attends a session of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo, November 17, 2013.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Canberra shouldn’t have to apologize for spying on its neighbor.

His candid admission in front of Parliament on Tuesday comes after reports surfaced this week that Australian intelligence officials had tapped Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s phone in 2009.

While the Prime Minister did say he sincerely regretted any embarrassment caused to Yudhoyono, he stopped short of issuing a full apology.

“Australia should not be expected to apologize for the steps we take to protect our country now or in the past, any more than other governments should be expected to apologize for the similar steps that they have taken,” said Abbott, according to an AFP report.

Following Abbott’s statement, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono aired his own “regrets” over the matter via Twitter and said his government was planning to review areas of bilateral cooperation “as a consequence of this hurtful action by Australia”.

On Tuesday, the Indonesian ambassador to Australia, Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, left Canberra after being recalled to Jakarta by Yuhoyono, according to a report in the Associated Press.