Regular talks for S'pore, Jakarta

By Jeremy Au Yong

Fore..." /> Regular talks for S'pore, Jakarta

By Jeremy Au Yong

Fore...">
From Straits Times

Regular talks for S'pore, Jakarta

By Jeremy Au Yong

Foreign ministers will meet every 6 months to review links and working groups' progress

THE foreign ministers of Singapore and Indonesia have agreed to meet informally every six months, to regularly review the links between the two nations.

The meetings will be part of a broader effort that includes seven joint working groups covering areas such as counter-terrorism, cruise tourism and civil aviation.

Explaining the need for regular dialogue, Foreign Minister George Yeo said it would allow both sides to review progress of the working groups and 'make sure the process is chugging along nicely in time for the next meeting of the leaders'.

He was speaking at a joint press conference with his Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa, who was in Singapore on a one-day introductory visit yesterday.

Dr Natalegawa became the Indonesian Foreign Minister last October.

Yesterday, he called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana in the morning before meeting Mr Yeo.

Mr Lee expressed satisfaction at the present state of warm relations between the two countries and Dr Natalegawa, in turn, reaffirmed Indonesia's commitment to further strengthen bilateral cooperation.

The Indonesian minister returned to Indonesia last night after attending a buka puasa (break fast) meal hosted by Mr Yeo.

The highlight of his brief visit was the afternoon ceremony at which the two foreign ministers exchanged instruments of ratification for the recent treaty on the delineation of the sea boundary between the two countries.

The treaty - which lays down the western segment of the maritime border line between the two countries - was signed in Jakarta in March last year.

Since then, both governments have ratified the agreement. Yesterday's ceremony marked the completion of a five-year process that began with negotiations in 2005.

Both ministers hailed its completion as a milestone in their relations.

Said Mr Yeo: 'This is a happy occasion, a celebration of the coming to force of an important border agreement between Indonesia and Singapore.'

They also agreed to begin talks to settle the eastern segments of the maritime border. An agreement on the middle section was signed in 1973.

Two sections of the eastern border remain unresolved: The first runs between Changi and Pulau Batam, and the second, between Pedra Branca and Pulau Bintan.

Discussions will focus on the first section as the second border line would depend on the outcome of Singapore-Malaysia talks on Pedra Branca's boundaries.

The two sides were optimistic that future negotiations will be fruitful.

'I'm sure the spirit which guided the negotiation on the western border will similarly guide us on the demarcation of that stretch,' said Mr Yeo.

During their meetings, they also discussed how to strengthen collaboration in the Asean community. Indonesia will chair the grouping next year. However, they did not touch on the defence pact or extradition treaty - the two outstanding bilateral issues between Singapore and Jakarta.

Asked if Indonesia's ongoing spat with Malaysia over a disputed maritime border had any impact on ties with Singapore, Dr Natalegawa said: 'Nothing, none whatsoever.'

He added: 'Both sides are keen to ensure that whatever issues we have are dealt with through the usual diplomatic channels.'

The mood of yesterday's proceedings generally reflected the warm and friendly state of ties at the moment, but there was a sombre moment as well.

Both ministers made it a point to pay tribute to the late Mr S. Tiwari, Singapore's chief negotiator on the boundary pact. Mr Tiwari died last month, at the age of 64.

'We remember him, we thank him for all that he had done. I'm sure he's here in spirit to celebrate with us,' said Mr Yeo.

In turn, Dr Natalegawa offered condolences on behalf of the Indonesian government. 'We appreciate the fact that his leadership and foresight and tremendous contribution have made possible the treaties we signed just now,' he said.
From Straits Times<br /> <br /> <span style="font-size: 14pt"><span style="font-weight: bold"> Regular talks for S'pore, Jakarta</span></span><br /> <br /> By Jeremy Au Yong<br /> <br /> Foreign ministers will meet every 6 months to review links and working groups' progress<br /> <br /> THE foreign ministers of Singapore and Indonesia have agreed to meet informally every six months, to regularly review the links between the two nations.<br /> <br /> The meetings will be part of a broader effort that includes seven joint working groups covering areas such as counter-terrorism, cruise tourism and civil aviation.<br /> <br /> Explaining the need for regular dialogue, Foreign Minister George Yeo said it would allow both sides to review progress of the working groups and 'make sure the process is chugging along nicely in time for the next meeting of the leaders'.<br /> <br /> He was speaking at a joint press conference with his Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa, who was in Singapore on a one-day introductory visit yesterday.<br /> <br /> Dr Natalegawa became the Indonesian Foreign Minister last October.<br /> <br /> Yesterday, he called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana in the morning before meeting Mr Yeo.<br /> <br /> Mr Lee expressed satisfaction at the present state of warm relations between the two countries and Dr Natalegawa, in turn, reaffirmed Indonesia's commitment to further strengthen bilateral cooperation.<br /> <br /> The Indonesian minister returned to Indonesia last night after attending a buka puasa (break fast) meal hosted by Mr Yeo.<br /> <br /> The highlight of his brief visit was the afternoon ceremony at which the two foreign ministers exchanged instruments of ratification for the recent treaty on the delineation of the sea boundary between the two countries.<br /> <br /> The treaty - which lays down the western segment of the maritime border line between the two countries - was signed in Jakarta in March last year.<br /> <br /> Since then, both governments have ratified the agreement. Yesterday's ceremony marked the completion of a five-year process that began with negotiations in 2005.<br /> <br /> Both ministers hailed its completion as a milestone in their relations.<br /> <br /> Said Mr Yeo: 'This is a happy occasion, a celebration of the coming to force of an important border agreement between Indonesia and Singapore.'<br /> <br /> They also agreed to begin talks to settle the eastern segments of the maritime border. An agreement on the middle section was signed in 1973.<br /> <br /> Two sections of the eastern border remain unresolved: The first runs between Changi and Pulau Batam, and the second, between Pedra Branca and Pulau Bintan.<br /> <br /> Discussions will focus on the first section as the second border line would depend on the outcome of Singapore-Malaysia talks on Pedra Branca's boundaries.<br /> <br /> The two sides were optimistic that future negotiations will be fruitful.<br /> <br /> 'I'm sure the spirit which guided the negotiation on the western border will similarly guide us on the demarcation of that stretch,' said Mr Yeo.<br /> <br /> During their meetings, they also discussed how to strengthen collaboration in the Asean community. Indonesia will chair the grouping next year. However, they did not touch on the defence pact or extradition treaty - the two outstanding bilateral issues between Singapore and Jakarta.<br /> <br /> Asked if Indonesia's ongoing spat with Malaysia over a disputed maritime border had any impact on ties with Singapore, Dr Natalegawa said: 'Nothing, none whatsoever.'<br /> <br /> He added: 'Both sides are keen to ensure that whatever issues we have are dealt with through the usual diplomatic channels.'<br /> <br /> The mood of yesterday's proceedings generally reflected the warm and friendly state of ties at the moment, but there was a sombre moment as well.<br /> <br /> Both ministers made it a point to pay tribute to the late Mr S. Tiwari, Singapore's chief negotiator on the boundary pact. Mr Tiwari died last month, at the age of 64.<br /> <br /> 'We remember him, we thank him for all that he had done. I'm sure he's here in spirit to celebrate with us,' said Mr Yeo.<br /> <br /> In turn, Dr Natalegawa offered condolences on behalf of the Indonesian government. 'We appreciate the fact that his leadership and foresight and tremendous contribution have made possible the treaties we signed just now,' he said.<br />
KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated
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