The foreign ministers of Malaysia and Singapore have concluded a meeting held to resolve maritime and airspace boundary disputes involving the two neighbouring countries today. From Left: Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Singapore Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan. Pic by NSTP/MOHD AZREN JAMALUDIN

SINGAPORE: The foreign ministers of Malaysia and Singapore have concluded a meeting held to resolve maritime and airspace boundary disputes involving the two neighbouring countries today.

The meeting, which started at 11.30am immediately after the arrival of Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah in the Republic, ended at 1.15pm.

Leading the delegates representing the Republic was Singapore Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

Saifuddin and Dr Vivian later proceeded to a restaurant at Taman Botanik here for a luncheon and photography session before both leaders return to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore headquarters.

Both leaders were scheduled to hold a joint press conference on the outcome of the meeting at about 2pm.

The dispute started with a declaration by the Malaysian government, which was published in the Federal Gazette, over an alteration to the Johor Baru port limits on Oct 25.

Singapore lodged a protest over the move on the grounds that it was carried out unilaterally.

Malaysia had also sent Singapore a diplomatic note for both sides to cease and desist sending assets to the disputed area pending discussions on outstanding boundary issues.

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs poured cold water and rejected the proposal. The Republic also called on Malaysian vessels to leave the area.

Malaysia had announced that the country would not allow Singapore to implement the Instrument Landing System (ILS) and ILS Approach Procedures for Seletar Airport.

Malaysia also wanted to reclaim its airspace, which is managed by Singapore since 1974 under the Operational Letter of Agreements between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore Area Control Centres Concerning Singapore Arrivals, Departures and Overflight (LOA 1974), in phases.

It was also previously reported that Saifuddin said Malaysia would be cautious in taking action to safeguard relations between the two countries while at the same time safeguarding sovereignty and national interest.

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