Indonesia to Accept Singapore's Help to Fight Haze

After renewed offers to and several rejections by Indonesia, they will now “take up our offer” in fighting the haze following a discussion yesterday (7 Oct) by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan with Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

Singapore has previously offered an assistance package that includes a C-130 aircraft for cloud seeding operations, a Chinook helicopter with a water bucket for aerial fire-fighting, and up to two C-130 aircraft to ferry the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) fire-fighting assistance team.

Yesterday, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) also extended another SCDF team to provide assessment and planning assistance, high-resolution satellite pictures and hot spot coordinates.

As to when the Singapore assets will be deployed, Mr Atmadji Sumarkidjo, a close aide of Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan, said: "We are trying to find the right timing... The haze is thick now so they won't be effective."

Separately, MFA has sent a formal request for the names of these errant companies suspected of being involved in the haze to the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Singapore. This was in response to the request by the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, who had previously said that if Singapore wanted the names of these companies,  the request has to be done through a Government-to-Government channel.

What else can Singapore do to tackle the haze?

Read the press release at Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Source: “Jakarta accepts foreign help to fight raging forest fires” (The Straits Times, 8 October 2015), “Indonesia indicates it will accept Singapore’s offer to help fight haze” (TODAYOnline, 8 October 2015)

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