I am convinced that Singapore and Indonesia mutually benefit from their business and economic cooperation."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said neighboring countries should not give wrong signals over land and forest fires that had created haze.

"I told our brothers in Singapore and Malaysia that 2013 was a different year. We have tried to prevent (fires) since 2006 and there was a year when we almost had no fires. But the condition this year is exceptional because there is extreme hot weather where peat land is flammable though there is also human factor," the President said at Halim Perdanakusuma Airbase here on Wednesday.

The Head of State was referring to reports and opinions in Singapore and Malaysia which said that since 1997 Indonesia had been sending pollution to Singapore.

"I follow international media (reports) in the morning, afternoon and night. In my opinion many reports which I always observed in Singapore were exaggerated so that they smeared the image of Indonesia in world`s eyes," President Yudhoyono said.

"I read and followed reports which gave the impression that since 1997 Indonesia had been polluting the Singapore air. I think this is exaggerating. I am convinced that Singapore and Indonesia mutually benefit from their business and economic cooperation. Of course it hurts us if it leaves the impression that Indonesia only poses problems to its neighbors, and I once again regret such intensive reports ," Yudhoyono said.

He said that the Indonesian government exerted its full efforts to put out the land and forest fires which created smokes.

"I believe that we have heart and good cooperation and with that reason our relations with whatever sides will be good. I believe this theory and since I became president in the past nine years. This is for the first time I make a statement like this," he said.

The President has been following the dynamism of relations between Indonesia and Malaysia as well as Singapore and the peak of the dynamism takes place with regard the (haze) incident in the past one week.

"It peaks this week for our goodness. The smoke and (forest) fires should not be mistaken as we will be responsible to overcome it. Bilateral relations are something that must proceed forever. Let us build friendship and partnership as wise as possible," the President said.

On the occasion, the President also stressed that the government`s efforts to soon put out the fires that caused haze were not because of pressures or of being afraid of any countries but of its responsibility as a sovereign country and as a good neighbor.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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