May 1, 2015 / 5:43 AM / 3 years ago

'Decent Indonesians' understand Australian anger over executions: PM Abbott

SYDNEY (Reuters) - “Decent Indonesians” understand Australian anger over the execution of two convicted drug traffickers, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said after Jakarta’s ambassador in Canberra expressed sympathy for the families of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. 

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks in the Australian Parliament located in the Australian capital city of Canberra February 23, 2015. REUTERS/David Gray

His comments followed a statement by Ambassador Nadjib Riphat Kesoema acknowledging the strain the executions had placed on relations between the neighbors.

“The Indonesian people and government express our sympathies to the families and friends of the deceased,” Kesoema said.

Abbott recalled Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia, Paul Gibson, in protest against the execution of Sukumaran and Chan, who faced a firing squad, along with six drug convicts from several countries, shortly after midnight on Wednesday.

“It’s a sign that decent people in Indonesia appreciate the anger that Australians feel at these cruel and unnecessary deaths and it’s a sign that in time the good and strong friendship between Australia and Indonesia can be resumed,” Abbott told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

The mass execution cements the hard line on enforcing the death penalty adopted by Indonesian President Joko Widodo when he took office last July, damaging diplomatic relations with several countries.

Chan’s family returned to Sydney on Friday, but his body has yet to be released from a mortuary in Jakarta.

Reporting by Stuart McDill; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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