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Friday April 18, 2008

Malaysia, Singapore to accept ICJ’s ruling on island


SINGAPORE: Malaysia and Singapore will accept whatever decision of the International Court of Justice in the Hague on Pulau Batu Putih in the Johor Straits.

“Whatever is the decision, we will accept it,” Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo and his Malaysian counterpart Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said yesterday.

Warm welcome: Hsien Loong (right) welcoming Dr Rais at the Istana in Singapore on Thursday. — Bernama

“We both agreed that if Malaysia were to win, Singapore would congratulate Malaysia, and if Singapore were to win, Malaysia would congratulate Singapore,” Yeo told a media conference after Rais called on him at his office.

Rais, who is on an introductory visit to Singapore since his appointment as the new Foreign Minister, earlier met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana.

Yeo said the judgment on Pedra Banca (as Singaporeans call Pulau Batu Putih) would likely be made by the ICJ in the middle or end of next month and the outcome would not affect bilateral relations of the two countries.

“Nothing should change,” Yeo said, adding that this was the common position that both countries agreed to take and declare it to all Malaysians and Singaporeans.

He said the lighthouse to whoever it belonged to would continue to provide valuable facilities to all navigators.

Both countries have put their claims on the rocky outcrop which had been developed into a lighthouse for sea route navigation into the straits during the colonial era.

On his visit to Singapore, Rais said the visit was very important between the two friendly countries which needed to further step up their close ties.

Rais, who was accompanied by Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore Datuk N. Parameswaran on his one-day visit, later met Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew at the Istana and Deputy Prime Minister Prof S. Jayakumar at his office. – Bernama

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