Sign free treaty, Indonesia told

Published: Wednesday 15 November 2006

Deliberate: Forest ablaze in S Ministers from southeast Asian nations (Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Brunei) recently met in Indonesia's Sumatra island to discuss plans to tackle Indonesian forest fires. The countries told the Indonesian government to formally ratify an Association of South East Asian Nations haze treaty before expecting major funding from it.

Indonesia had appealed for help to fight the forest and brush fires that have spread smoke over much of southeast Asia. According to media reports, the fires in parts of Sumatra and Borneo have so far cost the country a damage of us $1 billion this year. The neighbouring countries are growing frustrated with Jakarta's failure to tackle the recurring fires, most of which are deliberately lit by farmers as well as timber and palm plantation owners. The fires have been burning for weeks, creating the smoke that has made many ill, shut airports and threatened wildlife in protected forests.

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