Singapore, Indonesia to set up anti-terror working group

SINGAPORE: Singapore and Indonesia are setti..." /> Singapore, Indonesia to set up anti-terror working group

SINGAPORE: Singapore and Indonesia are setti...">
Singapore, Indonesia to set up anti-terror working group

SINGAPORE: Singapore and Indonesia are setting up a working group to deepen cooperation in counter terrorism.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he agreed to this suggestion by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during their retreat in Singapore on Monday.

The leaders also expressed concern over the situation in Bangkok and urged all parties to exercise restraint.

It was the perfect setting for a retreat. The two leaders and their delegations met at Halia Villa amid the lush Orchid Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

They followed up on discussions on the setting up of six working groups to explore various areas for economic cooperation. Among them are the Batam, Bintan and Karimun special economic zones, cruise tourism and the agro business.

Prime Minister Lee said: "In addition to that, beyond economic cooperation, the President suggested and I agreed that we set up a seventh working group to cover our counter-terrorism cooperation, which has been going on and is going well in a low key sort of way, and this working group will help us make it work more smoothly and in-depth, and we agreed to do that."

But two issues are still on hold - the Extradition Treaty and Defence Cooperation Agreement signed by the two leaders a few years ago.

Prime Minister Lee said: "Those, as you know, have been put aside for a while, because it depends on the political mood, whether Indonesia is ready to move yet and I think it will be some time before we are ready to move on those issues."

The leaders also talked about ASEAN's 2015 Economic Community target, saying that much depended on the grouping demonstrating it is serious about economic cooperation and integration.

Prime Minister Lee said: "So much depends on our demonstrating that we are actually serious about our economic cooperation and integration and that we will remain relevant in an Asia where China is emerging and India is rising rapidly and within ASEAN, countries like Vietnam are making significant progress."

There is also the need to broaden cooperation amongst ASEAN's dialogue partners, in particular, getting both Russia and the US more involved in this process.

So both Mr Lee and President Yudhoyono discussed a subject which was raised during the recent ASEAN Summit in Hanoi, that of the ASEAN Plus Eight dialogue process.

Mr Lee explained: "Between ASEAN and the other countries in the region, the broader landscape, we talked about how we could involve America and Russia in the regional cooperation further and we thought that one way to do this was to do what is called ASEAN Plus 8.

"What it means is that we have an East Asia Summit group which includes ASEAN plus China plus Korea plus Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand.

"So we want to bring in Russia and America, but it is not likely that the Americans, particularly, would be able to attend our meetings every year because the American president has so many other preoccupations.

"What we can do in the years that APEC meets in Asia, for example in 2013 when APEC will be meeting in Indonesia - they are planning it in Bali - then on the sidelines of the APEC meeting, we can have the existing group of East Asia Summit countries, plus America plus Russia and that makes ASEAN plus 8.

"It's a practical way which complements what we already have and will strengthen the regional cooperation efforts.

"And that's what we have been discussing among the ASEAN countries. Singapore supports it, President Yudhoyono also supported it and he says, 'why not get the foreign ministers to discuss it with the ASEAN countries and try and reach a consensus'."

On the Bangkok crisis, Mr Lee noted that Vietnam, the current Chair of ASEAN, had issued a statement two days ago urging all parties in Thailand to exercise restraint.

Prime Minister Lee said: "We are all concerned about the unrest in Bangkok, the demonstrations and the violence and the bloodshed and the loss of lives which have happened in the last few days.

"There was a statement by the Vietnamese Chair of ASEAN two days ago expressing concern at this and encouraging all sides to exercise restraint and reach a peaceful solution and a compromise which will enable Thailand to grow and which will also be helpful to ASEAN, because Thailand's problems will radiate and will affect ASEAN indirectly."

Both Mr Lee and President Yudhoyono hope the Thai government and demonstrators can reach a resolution which will enable Thailand to find a peaceful and harmonious way forward.

Original Article HERE
<span style="font-size: 14pt"><span style="font-weight: bold">Singapore, Indonesia to set up anti-terror working group</span></span><br /> <br /> SINGAPORE: Singapore and Indonesia are setting up a working group to deepen cooperation in counter terrorism.<br /> <br /> Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he agreed to this suggestion by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during their retreat in Singapore on Monday.<br /> <br /> The leaders also expressed concern over the situation in Bangkok and urged all parties to exercise restraint.<br /> <br /> It was the perfect setting for a retreat. The two leaders and their delegations met at Halia Villa amid the lush Orchid Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.<br /> <br /> They followed up on discussions on the setting up of six working groups to explore various areas for economic cooperation. <span style="font-weight: bold">Among them are the Batam, Bintan and Karimun special economic zones, cruise tourism and the agro business.</span><br /> <br /> Prime Minister Lee said: &quot;In addition to that, beyond economic cooperation, the President suggested and I agreed that we set up a seventh working group to cover our counter-terrorism cooperation, which has been going on and is going well in a low key sort of way, and this working group will help us make it work more smoothly and in-depth, and we agreed to do that.&quot;<br /> <br /> But two issues are still on hold - the Extradition Treaty and Defence Cooperation Agreement signed by the two leaders a few years ago.<br /> <br /> Prime Minister Lee said: &quot;Those, as you know, have been put aside for a while, because it depends on the political mood, whether Indonesia is ready to move yet and I think it will be some time before we are ready to move on those issues.&quot;<br /> <br /> The leaders also talked about ASEAN's 2015 Economic Community target, saying that much depended on the grouping demonstrating it is serious about economic cooperation and integration.<br /> <br /> Prime Minister Lee said: &quot;So much depends on our demonstrating that we are actually serious about our economic cooperation and integration and that we will remain relevant in an Asia where China is emerging and India is rising rapidly and within ASEAN, countries like Vietnam are making significant progress.&quot;<br /> <br /> There is also the need to broaden cooperation amongst ASEAN's dialogue partners, in particular, getting both Russia and the US more involved in this process.<br /> <br /> So both Mr Lee and President Yudhoyono discussed a subject which was raised during the recent ASEAN Summit in Hanoi, that of the ASEAN Plus Eight dialogue process.<br /> <br /> Mr Lee explained: &quot;Between ASEAN and the other countries in the region, the broader landscape, we talked about how we could involve America and Russia in the regional cooperation further and we thought that one way to do this was to do what is called ASEAN Plus 8.<br /> <br /> &quot;What it means is that we have an East Asia Summit group which includes ASEAN plus China plus Korea plus Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand.<br /> <br /> &quot;So we want to bring in Russia and America, but it is not likely that the Americans, particularly, would be able to attend our meetings every year because the American president has so many other preoccupations.<br /> <br /> &quot;What we can do in the years that APEC meets in Asia, for example in 2013 when APEC will be meeting in Indonesia - they are planning it in Bali - then on the sidelines of the APEC meeting, we can have the existing group of East Asia Summit countries, plus America plus Russia and that makes ASEAN plus 8.<br /> <br /> &quot;It's a practical way which complements what we already have and will strengthen the regional cooperation efforts.<br /> <br /> &quot;And that's what we have been discussing among the ASEAN countries. Singapore supports it, President Yudhoyono also supported it and he says, 'why not get the foreign ministers to discuss it with the ASEAN countries and try and reach a consensus'.&quot;<br /> <br /> On the Bangkok crisis, Mr Lee noted that Vietnam, the current Chair of ASEAN, had issued a statement two days ago urging all parties in Thailand to exercise restraint.<br /> <br /> Prime Minister Lee said: &quot;We are all concerned about the unrest in Bangkok, the demonstrations and the violence and the bloodshed and the loss of lives which have happened in the last few days.<br /> <br /> &quot;There was a statement by the Vietnamese Chair of ASEAN two days ago expressing concern at this and encouraging all sides to exercise restraint and reach a peaceful solution and a compromise which will enable Thailand to grow and which will also be helpful to ASEAN, because Thailand's problems will radiate and will affect ASEAN indirectly.&quot;<br /> <br /> Both Mr Lee and President Yudhoyono hope the Thai government and demonstrators can reach a resolution which will enable Thailand to find a peaceful and harmonious way forward. <br /> <br /> Original Article <a href="http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1057195/1/.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">HERE</a>
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