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Indonesia, Australia to discuss new bilateral Code of Conduct

Australia and Indonesia are set to discuss a new bilateral Code of Conduct during top level talks aimed at normalising ties.

JAKARTA: Australia and Indonesia are set to discuss a new bilateral Code of Conduct during top level talks aimed at normalising ties.

Relations between the two nations have been frayed in recent months, over spying allegations and Australia's policy of asylum seeker boat turn-backs.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will meet face-to-face with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Batam on Wednesday with both men expressing their keenness to take steps in improving bilateral ties which have soured in recent months.

Tensions stem from the release -- and subsequent handling -- of reports Australian officials listened in to phone calls by President Yudhoyono, his wife and government officials in 2009.

Central to bringing ties back to normal is a new Code of Conduct, which will likely map out future protocols over electronic surveillance and intelligence gathering.

Negotiations could take months, but Indonesian officials say only when the Code of Conduct has been approved, will relations be fully restored.

Until then, several bilateral agreements remain embargoed.

It is hoped the code can be finalised before President Yudhoyono's term ends in October.

Plans for the meeting come amid news reports of a protocol breach in which Indonesian reporters were allowed to listen in to a phone call between the two leaders in Bali last month.

The leaders were discussing options to meet. And the call was recorded and a transcript posted online.

 "The important thing is the quality of the conversation that's the important thing and I've always emerged from my discussions with President Yudhoyono feeling uplifted and encouraged and that's a very good thing," said Prime Minister Abbott.

Mr Abbot had called off that visit to Bali reportedly due to fears an asylum boat turn-back could inflame tensions over Australia's perceived lack of respect for Indonesia's territorial sovereignty. 

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