Important interests of both Indonesia & S'pore are met in Flight Information Region agreement: PM Lee

The agreement also provides Changi Airport with the opportunity to grow in the long term.

Faris Alfiq | January 25, 2022, 08:17 PM

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The Flight Information Region (FIR) Agreement signed during the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders' Retreat on Jan. 25  assures the ability of Changi to operate and to maintain safe civil aviation, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said during a doorstop interview with the media after the retreat.

He added that the FIR agreement would also provide air traffic control services in order for Changi to function as an important international airport, and to grow in the long term.

Both sides' interests and concerns have been met in FIR agreements: PM Lee

According to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), under the FIR Agreement, Singapore and Indonesia have agreed to realign the boundary between the Jakarta FIR and the Singapore FIR.

Indonesia will delegate to Singapore the provision of air navigation services in portions of the airspace within the realigned Jakarta FIR.

The agreement will remain in force for 25 years and shall be extended by mutual consent if both parties find it beneficial to do so.

It also takes into account the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) rules and regulations, and will be submitted for approval to the ICAO in accordance with an agreed procedure.

In a doorstop interview, PM Lee noted that the FIR Agreement realigns the FIR boundaries "to be generally in accordance" with Indonesia's territorial boundaries.

He added that the two countries have a "carefully negotiated and balanced set of agreements" and that both sides' important interests and concerns have been met.

Clear understanding of issues in Singapore-Indonesia relationship leads to more cooperation

Other than the FIR agreement, both countries signed the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) and the Treaty for the Extradition of Fugitives (ET). Said PM Lee:

"The Defence Cooperation Agreement will strengthen cooperation between our armed forces, and advance our defence relations. The Extradition Treaty will enhance cooperation in combating crime and send a clear positive signal to investors."

PM Lee said these agreements demonstrated the strength and maturity of Singapore-Indonesia relations, and thanked Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo for his leadership and vision.

Also during the doorstop interview, PM Lee added that the agreements signed during the retreats provide a long-term resolution on issues which are important to both Singapore and Indonesia.

If these issues are not properly resolved, it can "cause a lot of trouble to our relationship". However, if they are properly settled, and both countries have a clear understanding of them, then "you can go forward and do a lot more cooperation across the board."

Agreements for DCA and ET reached in 2007 but, unable to be ratified and implemented

PM Lee said during the doorstop interview that in 2007, Singapore had reached an agreement on two of the agreements, the DCA and the ET. However, they were not able to be ratified and implemented.

"So today, we have committed them again, with some minor adjustments to the extradition treaty," PM Lee added.

Under the ET, Singapore and Indonesia will grant extradition for a comprehensive list of extraditable offences covered by the treaty, in accordance with the laws of both countries and subject to the requisite safeguards and provisions.

The DCA will strengthen the strategic relationship between both defence establishments by enhancing cooperation and promoting closer interaction between the two Armed Forces.

As part of the DCA, the SAF will continue to conduct military training and exercises in training areas in Indonesia, with full respect for Indonesia's sovereignty over its territory, including its archipelagic and territorial waters and its airspace, and in accordance with UNCLOS.

The DCA and its Implementing Arrangement between the SAF and the Indonesian National Defence Forces for the Military Training Area in Indonesia (IA-MTA) shall remain in force for 25 years, MFA added.

Two and a half years of "intense and fruitful negotiations": Teo Chee Hean

Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investments Luhut Pandjaitan and Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean followed up with detailed negotiations.

Teo took to Facebook and shared that he had two and a half years of intense and fruitful negotiations, conducted in the spirit of trust and sincerity while recognising each other's core interests and rights. 

Both parties managed to arrive at a set of balanced, mutually beneficial and durable agreements, he added.

He also thanked Luhut and the teams from both countries from the various ministries who had worked hard, even with the challenges posed by Covid-19, to arrive at this set of agreements. 

He added that the set of agreements forms a good foundation for both Singapore and Indonesia to take bilateral ties to greater heights for the benefit of the two countries and peoples. 

Mutually beneficial agreement

Singapore's Minister for Transport, S Iswaran, part of PM Lee's delegation during the retreat, also took to Facebook and said that the FIR agreement is a "mutually beneficial" agreement that will meet the current and future needs of Changi airport and Indonesian airports.

He looks forward to the ratification and implementation of the agreement, which would allow Singapore and Indonesia to work even more closely together to "uphold the safety and efficiency of international civil aviation".

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