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Haze update: Indonesia agrees to bring forward Asean meeting on haze to mid-July

Published on Jun 27, 2013 11:04 AM
 
Malaysian Natural Resources and Environment Minister G. Palanivel (right) meets his Indonesian counterpart Balthasar Kambuaya (left) in Jakarta today to discuss haze issues. Mr Palanivel arrived at the Indonesian environment ministry building at around 8.30am and the meeting lasted for about an hour. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF SEPTHA/ INDONESIAN ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY

Indonesia agrees to move forward a sub-regional meeting of five Asean countries on the haze from August to mid-July, Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya said on Thursday.

Dr Balthasar was speaking to reporters at his office alongside his Malaysian counterpart Minister G. Palanivel after they met for an hour this morning.

The meeting will be held in Kuala Lumpur on July 17, and will be preceded by two days' technical meeting (July 15 - July 16).

Singapore, Brunei and Thailand are also involved in this meeting.

Indonesia is also open to the idea of receiving assistance from Malaysia and Singapore to put out the fires in Sumatra, said Dr Balthasar.

"I will discuss with (my Indonesian colleagues) this afternoon whether we could get support from Malaysia or Singapore. We will see if such is deemed necessary," Dr Balthasar said.

Mr Palanivel said: "We are ready to offer firefighters to Riau if Indonesia agrees."

Mr Palanivel also urged Indonesia to ratify the haze treaty.

Responding to this, Dr Balthasar said: "On government level, we are done. We will urge our parliament to ratify it," Dr Balthasar said.

The 2002 Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution has been signed and ratified by nine member countries. The agreement came into force in 2003. Indonesia has signed but not ratified it. 

wahyudis@sph.com.sg

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