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Hassan Wirajuda: "There are no more doubts about resolving this issue"

THE extradition agreement is currently being studied by a technical team comprising Indonesians and Singaporeans. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's visit led to Singapore's reinforced commitment to the issue. The following are the comments of Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda, who spoke to Abdul Manan of Koran Tempo daily:

How are talks going on an extradition treaty between Indonesia and Singapore?

The negotiating process on the Indonesia-Singapore extradition treaty has begun. There have been two meetings so far. Of course, it needs more than a few more meetings. More importantly, however, the governments of Indonesia and Singapore have agreed to accelerate the negotiation process and its solution so that it can be signed.

What criminal points have been agreed upon?

We have not gotten into discussing what kind of criminal points will be included, but they will be very much like the one we agreed with Australia. There were about 20 kinds of criminal points, broad enough in scope.

Can you give examples?

Matters dealing with international crime, like smuggling or drug trafficking would certainly be included. In the case with Australia, for example, people smuggling is not included in the list of crimes. That is why we need to criminalize such acts. With Singapore there are points of references. For us this is nothing new, as well as for Singapore. They have had experience with regards to extradition agreements with the British. On top of that, there are models that we can use. The two delegations will certainly be meeting again in March to discuss, among other things, the list of crimes to be included in the extradition agreement.

What about the issue of money laundering?

Money laundering today is considered to be an international crime, not just a national crime. So it is likely to be included in the list.

What progress has been achieved so far?

To the extent that there has been renewed spirit on both sides and no more doubts about solving this problem. The agreement, using the words cited by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long, is being expedited. To settle this problem expeditiously, as fast as we can.

What about opinions that President Yudhoyono's visit was a failure?

The media in our country has it wrong. They thought the president went to Singapore to sign an extradition treaty. Indeed there were high hopes because the matter had been under discussion for some time. Perhaps that is why many thought there was an agreement to be signed. But the government never said that anything would be signed during this visit because we knew only two meetings had taken place. The first meeting was between the Justice & Human Rights Minister with his Singaporean counterpart, the Attorney General of Singapore. The second meeting was led by the Director of International Agreements from the Department of Foreign Affairs. Not well-known is that negotiations with Singapore began on February 18 on the issue of maritime borders.

So discussions on this agreement have not touched on substance yet?

So far, we have not gone into the substance yet because the first meeting only dealt with the technical aspects. So, in a short time, we will start discussing the contents of the extradition agreement.

TEMPO, FEBRUARY 28, 2005-025/P. 45 Heading Law

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