Channel NewsAsia

Australian PM congratulates Joko Widodo on Indonesia win

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday said he was looking forward to working closely with Joko Widodo after the governor of Jakarta won the Indonesian presidential election.

SYDNEY: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday said he was looking forward to working closely with Joko Widodo after the governor of Jakarta won the Indonesian presidential election.

Abbott said the relationship with neighbour Indonesia, with whom ties were strained last year due to a spying allegations, was "extraordinarily important to us".

"The Australian government is looking forward to working closely with him," Abbott stated of the reform-minded governor who won a tight race against ex-general Prabowo Subianto.

Ties between Canberra and Jakarta sunk to their lowest point for years in November after reports that Australian spies tried to tap the phones of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his inner circle.

Jakarta called the actions "mind-boggling", and temporarily recalled its ambassador from Canberra while suspending cooperation in several areas.

This included people-smuggling -- a sensitive issue between the nations, with Jakarta unhappy over Australia's military-led operation to stem the flow of boatpeople, who mostly make the journey from Indonesia.

Abbott said Wednesday that the relationship was "highly productive".

"We share a long history of cooperation on a wide range of common interests and challenges," he said.

The Australian prime minister hailed Indonesia's election as a significant milestone for the world's third-largest democracy, as he praised outgoing leader Yudhoyono for his "vast contribution".

"Indonesia is to be congratulated on its remarkable transition to democracy and on the conduct of the election," Abbott said.

Prabowo has angrily accused Widodo's team of cheating and has announced his withdrawal from the presidential race, but independent analysts have said that the poll has been largely free and fair.

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia