Indonesia apologizes for haze

| Monday, June 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

JAKARTA — Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono apologized on Monday to Singapore and Malaysia for record-setting pollution caused by forest fires in his country.

“For what is happening, as the president, I apologize to our brothers in Singapore and Malaysia,” Yudhoyono said. He asked for their understanding and said Indonesia is working hard to fight the fires, which often are set by farmers to clear fields.

Jakarta dispatched planes and helicopters last week to battle the blazes in peat swamp forests as well as plantations in Riau province on Sumatra island, where the smoke easily drifts across the sea to the two neighboring countries.

Yudhoyono said he has ordered an investigation of the fires.

“There should be a thorough investigation. In my analysis, there are both natural and human factors,” he said.

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