Indonesian students rally against Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott following his statement over the tsunami aid from Australian government outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta on Feb. 25, 2015. (AFP Photo/Adek Berry)

Aust. PM Turnbull Plans First Jakarta Visit After Bali 9 Executions, Felling of Abbott


NOVEMBER 02, 2015

Jakarta. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will visit Jakarta this month on his first overseas visit since toppling unpopular former leader Tony Abbott.

The visit, tipped for Nov. 12, will be the first from an Australian Prime Minister after the execution of Australian drug convicts Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in April. Relations between the neighboring countries grew tense in the lead up to the Central Java executions, with demonstrations in both countries.

Abbott inflamed anti-drug protesters in Indonesia after linking the then impending executions to Australian aid in the wake of the 2004 tsunami in Aceh, in an effort to gain the two convicts a reprieve.

The Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Paul Grigson, was recalled immediately after the April 29 executions, although Indonesian foreign ministry sources maintain no official notification was submitted. Grigson was back in Jakarta in the first week of June.

Both Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi and her Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop, have repeatedly stated that relations have since returned to "normal."

Retno welcomed Turnbull to the leadership in early October, along with plans to send an Australian minister to visit the country each month. Bishop was the first minister to visit under the new PM, spending a number of days in Padang, West Sumatra, to monitor the haze crisis. Australia has since donated the use of aircrafts in fighting the Sumatra and Kalimantan fires causing the haze.

Turnbull will meet with President Joko Widodo to "discuss Australia-Indonesia bilateral cooperation, with a particular focus on trade and economic ties and common regional challenges," the Prime Minister's office said.