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17 Jul 07
Singapore warned Indonesia on Monday it will not implement a long-awaited extradition treaty unless a bilateral defense pact also goes ahead.
The defense agreement, negotiated in April, is linked to an extradition treaty that Jakarta hopes will help it recover embezzled funds. But a dispute over Singapore’s right to carry out military training in Indonesia has held up ratification in Indonesia.
Foreign Minister George Yeo told Singapore’s Parliament that Indonesia sought last-minute changes to terms of the defense agreement which have already been settled – a move he said was placing the package of agreements, including the extradition treaty, in jeopardy.
“Insisting on substantive changes or introducing new elements afterward means that there was no agreement in the first place,” Yeo said. “In effect, the entire package would be unraveled.”
“This would make future negotiations with Indonesia, or with any other country, for that matter, difficult if not impossible because there would be no finality even after an agreement had been reached.”
The warning came amid accusations by Jakarta that Singapore has been trying to scuttle the defense agreement because it does not want to acknowledge that fugitives who fled Indonesia with billions of dollars after the 1997-98 financial crisis are living in the nearby island nation.
Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono told The Associated Press on Friday he was willing to let Singapore carry out naval exercises in the Bravo area of the South China Sea four times a year, but that Singapore has sought too many days of training for every quarter.
Singapore Defense Minister Teo Chee Hean said Monday that Indonesia should have raised its concerns about the military training during discussions rather than after both sides signed the agreements in late April.
“The training itself was never in contention or a subject of discussion, only where it would take place,” Teo told Parliament. “If there was a need to impose any new conditions on naval training, or to conclude a separate (implementing agreement) on naval training, Indonesia had ample opportunity to raise the matter for discussion during the negotiations.”
Both ministers said Singapore has submitted another proposal aimed at resolving the issue and is awaiting Jakarta’s response