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Home / VP News / Press Release / Diplomatic Relations

VP BINAY HOPES MALAYSIA, SULTANATE WILL SOFTEN THEIR POSITIONS
Posted: Monday, March 04, 2013

CAGAYAN DE ORO - Vice President Jejomar C. Binay expressed hope that the Sultanate of Sulu and Malaysia would both soften their positions and avoid further casualties in Sabah.

Binay asked for prayers that the Sabah conflict would not escalate further.

“Let’s pray for it. Talks are still on-going (between the Philippines and Malaysia) on how to de-escalate the situation,” the Vice President said.

“What is important is that the lines of communication are open and there is continuing dialog. We should avoid taking hardline positions because it will not resolve anything,” he said.

Binay said he was deeply disturbed by reports that innocent Filipinos are being rounded up by Malaysian authorities and pressed the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur to verify the information.

“There are many reports emanating from Sabah that are disturbing. The Embassy needs to verify these reports so we can act accordingly. From day one, the government’s concern has always been the safety of Filipinos in Sabah. We want to make sure that they are safe and out of harm’s way,” he said.

The Vice President also appealed to Malaysia to facilitate the entry of mercy ships to provide aid to Filipinos caught in the conflict.

Earlier, Binay confirmed discussing with Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III the position of the Philippine government on the Sabah issue. He also renewed his appeal for sobriety and for both parties to exert all efforts to reach a peaceful resolution.

“I told the Sultan that the most important thing is that we avoid violence. Unfortunately, what we wanted to avoid has happened, and everybody needs to calm down at this point,” he said.

Gunfights between the Malaysian forces and Kiram’s soldiers have already claimed 12 lives.



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