Singapore 'surprised, disappointed' with US report on terrorism

Crack troops from the Special Operations Forces (SOF) often carry out counter-terrorism drills in realistic urban settings.

SINGAPORE - Singapore said on Wednesday that it was "surprised and disappointed" that the United States had painted its counter-terrorism efforts in a negative light.

In May, the US State Department published its annual country reports on terrorism and had harsh words for Singapore for the first time since the country was first included in this report in 2004.

The US said Singapore was "inconsistent" last year when it came to law-enforcement cooperation and counter-terrorism intelligence partnerships with other countries.

Singapore's "transactional mindset" impeded the development of strong agency-to-agency relationships, and its cooperation appeared to be selective and dependent on the issue, the report added without providing details.

In a strongly worded rebuttal on Wednesday, the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the report was inaccurate and showed "a lack of understanding" of Singapore's commitment to counter-terrorism.

"We are surprised and disappointed at the comments about Singapore... particularly so given the close relationship and cooperation between our countries and agencies in the area of counter-terrorism," the ministries said in a joint statement.

"We are of the view that the State Department's report does not accurately describe the relations we have with US agencies involved in counter-terrorism matters.

It also shows a lack of understanding of Singapore's deep commitment towards international cooperation against the threat of terrorism, whether at the bilateral or multi-lateral level, and not least on the intelligence and law enforcement front."

The ministries said that they will continue to work with their international counterparts on counter-terrorism matters despite the report.

However, "for cooperation to work well, parties should not only take into account mutual interests, but also mutual respect and trust", they said.

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