what boats ....
from politicoz ….
sugar on the table ….
On his inaugural state visit, Tony Abbott was quick to apologise for his predecessors' past behaviour regarding Indonesia, for the live cattle bans and "putting sugar on the table for people smugglers." But he was a little more circumspect about his own impact on relations.
He humbly stated Australia's "total respect" for Indonesia's sovereignty and territorial integrity - a near-complete reversal of promises to turn back the boats and "we will decide" rhetoric, albeit without saying as much.
For good measure, Abbott affirmed his strong opposition to the West Papuan independence movement, a stance calculated to further placate the Indonesian government.
In return President Yudhoyono refrained from further criticism of the new government's boats policies, and promised to resume talks.
"It would be much better if cooperation at the bilateral level would flow even further," he announced.
In the hackneyed language of international diplomacy, this was reported as an "olive branch", but his statement, with its classic Javanese nuance, could just as well be read as a reiteration of Indonesia's stance against Australia's "unilateralist" approach.
The discussions will now move onto trade matters.
It will be fascinating to see if Abbott and his team resume their tough talk when they return to Australia, for it has all but disappeared in recent days.