Sydney siege: PM Lee writes to Australian PM Abbott, sends condolences to victims and familes

A visitor looks at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a fatal siege in the heart of Sydney's financial district on Dec 16, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
A visitor looks at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a fatal siege in the heart of Sydney's financial district on Dec 16, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has sent a condolence letter to his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott on the hostage incident in Sydney, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

The letter as follows:

"Dear Prime Minister Abbott,

I have followed news of the hostage incident in Sydney with great concern. The hostage taker has committed an abominable crime, invoked the name of Islam in vain, and perpetrated an affront to all civilised societies. The incident reminds us of the threat that terrorism and extremism, and in particular the danger of self-radicalisation, pose to all societies.

The Australian police and officials acted with great professionalism in dealing with a very difficult situation. I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of innocent lives and injuries in the final outcome. But I have no doubt that they did what they needed to do, and helped to save many lives.

On behalf of the Government and people of Singapore, I offer our deepest condolences to the victims and their loved ones. Singapore stands in solidarity with Australia."

The MFA also issued a statement on the hostage incident earlier on Tuesday. In response to media queries, a MFA spokesman said: Singapore strongly condemns the hostage incident that took place in Sydney. We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of innocent lives and injuries. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. Singapore stands in solidarity with the people and government of Australia."

The spokesman added: "This incident highlights the danger posed to all societies by terrorism and extremist ideology, and underscores the need for continued vigilance in dealing with them."