Indonesia has warned Australia against threatening it over the imminent execution of Bali Nine pair Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
“Threats are not part of diplomatic language,” Indonesian government foreign affairs spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told reporters on Wednesday. “And from what I know no one responds well to threats.”
Mr Nasir recalled an Indonesian saying which translates as: People will show their true colours.
“So I hope the statement (Mr Abbott) made doesn’t show the true colour of Australians,” he said.
“But I would like just to remind Australia that bilateral relationships, in my understanding, cut two ways.
“It is difficult for Indonesia to see that any fallout in the bilateral relationship would only affect one country.”
The stern language came in direct response to remarks made on Wednesday morning by Prime Minister Tony Abbott about the fate of the Bali Nine prisoners.
If the executions go ahead, as expected, Mr Abbott said Australia would tell Indonesia in “absolutely unambiguous terms that we feel grievously let down” and recalled the nation’s response to the 2004 tsunami that catastrophically affected Indonesia.
“Let’s not forget that a few years ago, when Indonesia was struck by the Indian Ocean tsunami, Australia sent $1 billion worth of assistance, we sent a significant contingent of our armed forces to help in Indonesia with humanitarian relief and Australians lost their lives in that campaign to help Indonesia,” he said.
In recent days, there have also been mounting public calls by prominent Australian commentators and politicians to retaliate with boycotts of Indonesian products and tourism if Chan and Sukumaran are put to death. Former foreign minister Bob Carr was amongst those warning against such action though, telling the ABC’s 7:30 programme that it would likely spark a “nationalistic backlash” and do more harm than good.
Meanwhile, 100s of supporters held vigil in Melbourne’s Federation Square on Wednesday evening, pleading and praying for Chan’s and Sukumaran’s clemency.
The pair were convicted 10 years ago of being the ring-leaders of an operation to smuggle over 8kg of heroin from Indonesia to Australia. They are expected to be put to death by firing squad sometime in the coming weeks.
IMAGE: Indonesian Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo leads a closed internal meeting with prosecutors about the preparation of the plan of executions in Jakarta on February 18, 2015. Indonesia’s foreign ministry told Australia on February 18 that nobody responds well to threats as tensions mount over the looming execution of two Australian drug smugglers. As diplomatic efforts intensify to save Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, Prime Minister Tony Abbott asked Indonesia to remember the one billion dollars in Australian aid in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami that killed 170,000 Indonesians. (ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)