APSN Banner

New Aust ambassador arrives in Jakarta

Australian Associated Press - February 3, 1997

Gordon Feeney, Jakarta – Australia's ambassador-designate to Indonesia, John McCarthy, has arrived in Jakarta, bringing to a close 18 months of diplomatic tiffs between the two countries.

Mr McCarthy, 54, former envoy to the United States, arrived at the weekend and was due to present his credentials to President Suharto in the near future, an embassy spokesman said.

The Charge d'Affaires, Murray Cobban, would continue to head the embassy until Mr McCarthy presented his credentials to formally become ambassador, the spokesman said.

Mr Cobban took over when former ambassador Allan Taylor ended his four year term last December.

Mr McCarthy's appointment followed diplomatic tension last year when Canberra first nominated career diplomat Miles Kupa - author of a confidential report highly critical of Suharto family business interests.

The report was leaked to the media.

Australia withdrew Mr Kupa's name after Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas indicated he would not be suitable.

The Kupa affair followed a similar incident in 1995 when Indonesia was forced to withdraw its nominee to be ambassador to Canberra, Lieutenant General Herman Mantiri.

The planned appointment caused a storm of protest in Australia over comments General Mantiri reportedly made that military actions in the 1991 Dili massacre in East Timor were "quite proper".

Some eight months later, Indonesia posted highly regarded career diplomat Wiryono Sastrohandoyo as ambassador.

Mr McCarthy has held a range of diplomatic posts, including ambassador to Thailand and Vietnam.