Australia apologizes for boats entering Indonesia

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Associated Press

Posted on January 16, 2014 at 9:02 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 17 at 12:04 AM

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia has apologized to Indonesia over Australian border patrol boats entering Indonesian territorial waters without permission as part of a bid to stop asylum seekers.

Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison said a formal apology on behalf of the Australian government would be made by Australia's embassy in Jakarta on Friday.

Morrison described the breaches which he became aware of on Wednesday as "a very serious matter" and said it was "extremely regrettable."

Indonesia has complained that Australia's policy of turning back asylum seekers' boats threatened to violate Indonesian sovereignty.

Australia has denied this, saying that Australian vessels would not enter Indonesia's territorial waters.

Lt. Gen. Angus Campbell, who oversees Australia's efforts to stop asylum seeker boats traveling from Indonesian ports, said the error would not be repeated.

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