INDONESIA FINALLY ACCEPTS SINGAPORE’S OFFER TO HELP WITH FOREST FIRES

After an eternity of wrangling, Indonesia has finally accepted SIngapore’s offer to help Indonesia deal with its own forest fires, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan announced today.

In a Facebook post, Dr Balakrishnan said that his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi had informed him of Indonesia’s acceptance after a good discusion on Wednesday evening.

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) had earlier sent a formal request to Indonesia for the names of the companies that are involved in irresponsible burning which has contributed to the yearly haze problem in the region.

MFA says that this official request was in response to Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar, who said that if Singapore wanted the names of these companies, Singapore would have to deal with Indonesia via a Government-to-Government channel.

Dr Balakrishnan added: “We look forward to an early response from the Government of the Republic of Indonesia on our requests so that we can take the necessary action against those who are responsible for the haze.”

Singapore’s offer of help to Indonesia consists: A C-130 aircraft for cloud seeding operations; Up to two C-130 aircraft to ferry a fire-fighting assistance team from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF); A team from SCDF to provide assessment and planning assistance; High resolution satellite pictures and hotspot coordinates; and a Chinook helicopter with one heli-bucket under-slung, subject to their operational availability.

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