Police Chief Guarantees Security of Australian Tourists in Bali

DENPASAR ~

Chief of Indonesia’s National Police General Sutarman has guaranteed that Australian tourists visiting Bali, in particular, and Indonesia, in general, will be protected despite the ongoing row over espionage allegations.

“(The security of) tourists must be guaranteed. The security of embassies and consulate officers are also our responsibility,” General Sutarman said after issuing directives to police officers in Bali on Friday.

The security of foreign tourists, not only those from Australia, is the responsibility of the Indonesian police, he noted.

The police will request the assistance of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) to secure the assets of Australia and other countries in Indonesia, if necessary, he added.

“If we are not capable of doing it alone and our resources are not adequate, we will ask the TNI to support our forces in guaranteeing the safety of foreign countries’ assets, such as consulate offices and embassies,” Sutarman stated.

According to a posting on smartraveller.gov.au, the Australian government on November 21, 2013, issued a travel advisory for its citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution” if they intend to visit Indonesia.

The security at the Australian embassy in Jakarta and the consulate office in Denpasar have been tightened following the escalation of tension between the two neighboring countries due to the issue of espionage.

Documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that in 2009, Australia’s Defense Signals Directorate had wire-tapped the personal mobile phones of both President Yudhoyono and his wife, Kristiani Herawati, as well as eight others in the President’s inner circle, including Vice President Boediono.

The Indonesian government recalled its ambassador to Australia as a strong protest over the illegal wire-tapping activities conducted by Australian surveillance agencies. President Yudhoyono also ordered the suspension of several cooperation programs with Australia.

These cooperation programs include the exchange of intelligence information, joint military exercises, and military operations to curb human trafficking.

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