Pubdate: Fri, 27 Mar 2015
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2015 Associated Press
Author: Rod McGuirk, Associated Press


CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - President Joko Widodo of Indonesia has 
been too busy during the past three weeks to accept a phone call from 
the Australian prime minister to plead for the lives of two death-row 
prisoners, an Indonesian envoy said Thursday.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters on March 5 that he had 
requested a telephone conversation with Widodo on the impending 
executions of Australian heroin traffickers Andrew Chan, 31, and 
Myuran Sukumaran, 33.

Indonesia's ambassador to Australia, Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, on 
Thursday brushed off suggestions of a diplomatic snub.

"The president was so busy," Kesoema told reporters in the Australian 
capital, Canberra.

"Because, as you know, the first program of the president is going to 
his people, to the provinces. Not only in Java, in Kalimanta or 
Sumatra, but also in Papua. So it's many visits that he should make," he said.

Australia's efforts to save the lives of the two Australians have 
strained diplomatic ties between the close neighbors that share a 
brittle bilateral relationship.

Chan and Sukumaran were the ringleaders of a gang of nine Australians 
arrested in April 2005 while trying to smuggle more than 18 pounds of 
heroin from the resort island of Bali to Sydney.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom