Singapore ready to support Indonesia’ haze tackilng efforts

Singapore, Sep 29 (IANS) Singapore is ready to support Indonesia’s efforts to put out forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan which is causing haze conditions in both countries, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said on Tuesday.

Singapore had previously offered to send C-130 aircraft for cloud seeding and Chinook helicopters with large water buckets to douse the fires. Ng said that whether or not what Singapore is offering is adequate, is up to the Indonesians to decide, Channel News Asia reported.

Indonesia has rejected Singapore’s offer for help several times, with its Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar saying that the assets being offered were not enough. Siti also raised concerns about the assessment team Singapore is offering to send.

Ng stressed that whatever help Singapore is giving cannot infringe on the sovereignty, as well as command and control of the operations.

“I think the more they open up, not only to Singapore but other countries to help to deal with this regional issue, whether it’s in ASEAN or international countries, I think the better, the quicker the solutions will be found,” he added.

Besides haze conditions, Ng reaffirmed the close and long standing bilateral defence relations between Indonesia and Singapore.

Ng met with Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan and Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu on Monday evening.

Ng is in Indonesia for a two-day visit.

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