JAKARTA - INDONESIA'S Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa yesterday said that controlling the land fires on Sumatra was a priority for his country, but stressed that fighting the haze could not be done by Indonesia alone.

He emphasised that the haze was a transnational problem, requiring cooperation from countries in the region.

His comments came after Singapore and Malaysia pressed Indonesia to take action on the haze. Smoke caused by small landowners burning peatland in order to grow oil palm or other crops has in recent days shrouded parts of Malaysia and Singapore.

Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo had called Mr Marty at 9am yesterday to express concern over the haze, and reiterated that Singapore stood ready to help Indonesia put out some of the fires in Sumatra.

His phone call followed a similar one by Singapore's Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim to his Indonesian counterpart Gusti Muhammad Hatta on Thursday night.

According to the Singapore Foreign Affairs Ministry, Mr Marty thanked Mr Yeo for calling him, assured him that Indonesia would address the haze problem and added that many Indonesians in Sumatra were also affected.

'We can't fight haze alone'