Indonesia and Australia announced on Thursday that they would set up a hotline as part of efforts to repair relations following media reports last month that Canberra had spied on top Indonesian officials. Indonesia has already suspended military and police cooperation over preventing asylum seekers from setting sail to Australia and there were concerns the diplomatic row could hit trade relations. "We have agreed to establish a special communications channel or a hotline to ensure we can resolve the issues, the implementation and so that we can avoid any unintended consequences," Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on the subject of military and intelligence cooperation. Speaking to reporters in the Indonesian capital after talks with her counterpart Marty Natalegawa, Bishop added, "We are pleased that our cooperation will continue in economic, financial areas, education and trade and investment." But Natalegawa told reporters it was only the start.
Washington's top diplomat was holding talks on security with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday in their first meeting since a fallout over a nuclear deal struck with Iran. US Secretary of State John Kerry landed just before midnight (2200 GMT) on Wednesday for a trip aimed at giving momentum to the direct negotiations, which appear to have made little headway since they began under his patronage in late July. But his meeting comes at a point of high tension with Israel over the November 24 Iran deal, which saw the Islamic republic agreeing to roll back parts of its nuclear programme in return for limited sanctions relief - in a move loudly denounced by Netanyahu as a "historic mistake". Kerry was to hold talks in Jerusalem at 0730 GMT with Netanyahu then head to Ramallah in the West Bank to meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas for a meeting at 1200 GMT, officials said.