Transcript of Comments made by Singapore Foreign Minister Prof S Jayakumar to the media at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Informal Retreat in Phuket

Responding to queries from the media today in Phuket, where he is attending the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Informal Retreat, Minister Prof S Jayakumar said:

"At the side lines of the Retreat, I did reiterate to Foreign Minister Hassan Singapore's suprise at the reactions to Senior Minister's comments in his speech because for us this is a very serious matter. It involves our security, endangering lives and property, and it's not just the problem of Singapore but it affects the whole region. And what Senior Minister had said was really to tell the people of Singapore the facts which have been known before - the fact that we had averted a near disaster, the fact that this can happen again because the ringleaders are at large in Indonesia, and that whether we have solved the problem permanently. We have not. Because, as long as they are at large, it's possible for them to regroup, and mount another attack on Singapore, or any other country in the region. So these are facts which had been made known before and the details and information concerning these ringleaders have been supplied by our security agencies to their Indonesian counterparts. So I reiterated these concerns. But I read in the papers today that FM Hassan was quoted in Kuala Lumpur that he would be sending, or Indonesia would be sending, police teams to the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore to obtain more information. So, that is a positive sign."

21 FEBRUARY 2002

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