Singapore, Indonesia to Step Up Extradition Talks

SINGAPORE ~ Singapore and Indonesia have agreed to set a date for ministers and military officials to discuss an extradition treaty and defense cooperation pact, the Singapore Foreign Ministry said.

Foreign Minister George Yeo met his Indonesian counterpart Hassan Wirajuda on the sidelines of a meeting last week between the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Germany, it said.

Singapore and Indonesia are members of the 10-nation ASEAN bloc.

They have been at odds over Indonesian resource exports to Singapore as well as alleged foot-dragging by Singapore on an extradition treaty that would allow Jakarta to recover allegedly illicit assets of Indonesians in the city-state.

“On joint negotiations to conclude the Extradition Treaty and the Defence Cooperation Agreement, both ministers agreed to set an early date for the foreign and defense ministers to meet together with representatives from the armed forces,” the statement said.

The statement also said the Indonesian minister clarified that Jakarta was not considering a proposal to ban granite exports to Singapore, whose recovering construction industry depends heavily on imported materials.

Jakarta already banned the export of sand to Singapore in January, saying it was intended to protect the environment, although critics say the move was aimed at pressuring the city-state into signing an extradition treaty.

A number of suspects wanted in Indonesia on corruption charges have fled to Singapore to escape the reach of Indonesian justice, officials in Jakarta allege.

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