Hot spot situation 'more under control': Jakarta

INDONESIA - Indonesia's haze-fighting efforts have borne fruit, with the number of hot spots down from a high of 265 to seven last Friday, and the size of the affected area a quarter of what it was, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said on Saturday.

The situation is becoming "more under control", he told reporters after meeting his Singapore and Malaysian counterparts. He said that was due to efforts in cloud-seeding and water-bombing the burning areas, and propitious weather.

"We must continue these efforts... this is a commitment by the Indonesian government to ensure that we address this problem in a comprehensive way," he said.

Some 2,800 military personnel and 3,000 civilians, along with helicopters and other aircraft, are involved in the effort.

Singapore's Mr K. Shanmugam initiated the one-hour informal meeting in Brunei so that the ministers of the three most affected countries could come to some solution before today's Asean Ministerial Meeting (AMM). He termed the reduction in hot spots "substantial".

Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted in a Facebook post that the number of hot spots had fallen steadily over the last few days. "This is good news! I hope the situation continues to improve over the next few weeks," PM Lee added.

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