Jakarta: Bilateral ties between Indonesia and Australia were being tested following Indonesia`s plans to execute two Australian nationals for smuggling drugs into its territory.
Indonesian authorities were finalising preparations to execute the two Australian citizens, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, as their pleas for commuting their death sentences to life imprisonment were rejected by a local court in Bali earlier this month, according to a Xinhua report.
The executions were likely to be conducted near Bali, where the two Australians and the rest of their gang, "Bali Nine", were caught, trying to smuggle 8.2 kg of heroin worth 40 billion rupiah (about $3.1 million) into Indonesia in 2005.
"In line with the calls submitted by several parties in Bali, the execution should not be conducted there. We are still studying places for their execution outside Bali," Sudjonggo, head of Kerobokan jail, where the two Australian convicts were imprisoned, was quoted as saying by local media Friday.
Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told local media that Australian tourists might boycott Indonesia should the executions take place.
"I think the Australian people will demonstrate their deep disapproval of this action, including by making decisions about where they wish to holiday," she told Fairfax radio Friday.
Bishop had earlier said that she would not rule out recalling Australia`s ambassador in Indonesia if the executions went ahead.
Responding to the developing situation concerning the execution plan, an Indonesian foreign ministry official said that Indonesia still regarded Australia as a friendly country.
"Australia`s efforts to protect its nationals (from the execution) were still conducted in the legal context," Indonesian foreign ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir said Friday.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has on several occasions rejected clemency pleas for the two, saying that he would not approve clemency for those involved in drug cases.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries turned sour in 2013, when Indonesia recalled its ambassador and froze military and intelligence cooperation with Australia following revelation that the latter had spied on top Indonesian officials.
Bilateral relations were fixed last year with the signing of a "code of conduct" document to govern future ties of the two nations.