Indonesia welcomes foreign assistance in battling forest fires - (d)

Indonesia welcomes foreign assistance in battling forest fires - (d)

Illustration on how massive forest fire in rural area in South Sumatera, last week. Aqua/Terra Modis satellite noted more than 1.000 hotspots in Sumatera Island. (ANTARA FOTO/Nova Wahyudi)

Banda Aceh, Aceh (ANTARA News) - After taking months to tackling, Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said the government of Indonesia would welcome foreign offer to help battling forest fires in the country which have caused great inconvenience by haze of thick smoke including in neighboring countries.

"The government would welcome any offer from neighboring countries wanting to help," the minister said here on Thursday.

He expressed disappointment over criticism from neighboring countries blaming Indonesia for the smokes blown by strong winds from forest fires in Sumatra or Kalimantahn.

"Please don't put the blame entirely on this sovereign country. If they honestly want to help please do," he said.

Kumolo said the government has done what it can do and has taken firm measure against suspects responsible for the fire tragedy.

He said a number of oil palm plantation companies had been charged with causing the fires and some of the oil palm companies are owned by investors from the neighboring countries.

President Joko Widodo is currently visiting Jambi to inspect the progress made in the attempt to put out the fires.

Meanwhile, Malaysia is reported planning to send an aircraft Bombardier CL415MP to Indonesia, to help in putting out the fires that have spewed thick smokes blown by the winds to that neighboring country including Singapore.

Malaysian Defense Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the aircraft would be sent in response to request for help from President Joko Widodo to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"The President of Indonesia has asked for assistance from the Prime Minister to put out forest fires in South Sumatra," Hishammuddin was quoted as saying.

"I have talked with my Indonesian counterpart Ryamizard Ryacudu," he said adding the aircraft could put out fires in wide areas.