Friday, February 22, 2013

17. Aquino wants study on Sulu sultan's Sabah claim

Aquino wants study on Sulu sultan's Sabah claim

While the armed group of Sulu sultan Jamalul Kiram was still engaging in a stand-off with Malaysian authorities in Lahad Datu, Sabah, Manila has ordered its officials to study Jamalul’s claim on Sabah and deployed six naval ships to the seas of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi to contain the conflict.
According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, in an apparent move to appease Jamalul, Philippine President Benigno Aquino had ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Office of the President itself to study the legal validity of the sultanate’s claim to Sabah.
Philippine Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the DOJ will handle the legal aspect of the claim, and that the DFA will deal with the policy dimension, while the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office will handle the historical aspect of the claim.
The study, which has no deadline, would include an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the Sulu sultanate’s claim to Sabah, she said.
“I will try to finish it in a few days,” she said.
Manila has also sent emissaries to Jamalul to talk to him about settling the crisis peacefully, reported the daily.
Several Philippine senators suspected that the intrusion on Feb 9 by dozens of armed personnel who claimed to be the ‘royal army of Sulu’ is an attempt is part of a plot to derail the peace process between the Philippine government and the rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Malaysian authorities have surrounded the group and a stand-off has been in place since Feb 12 while negotiations continue.
Yesterday, AFP reported that Aquino criticised the group and warned that their actions could lead to conflict.
He said his government had been talking to all parties, including the sultan’s family, to find a peaceful solution.
Six Philippine ships deployed
Another report published by The Star-Asia News Network said that six Philippines naval ships have been deployed to the seas of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi to prevent a possible spillover from the stand-off.
The ships are only conducting patrols within the waters of Tawi-Tawi islands, less than a half-hour speedboat ride from the seaside village of Tandau, where the Sulu group has been holed up.
Philippines Navy spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Gregory Fabic was quoted as telling the media in Manila that the naval vessels would not dock in Sabah waters but were there to help make the situation stable.
He said there were no instructions given for the evacuation of the Sulu group led by Azzimudie Kiram, the brother of Jamalul.
“We are hoping that this will be resolved peacefully. If they are retreating, we are not there to help them because we need instructions if they can be picked up,” Fabic was quoted as saying.
“If there are conflicts, we cannot help them. We will (only go there) if it is resolved peacefully and are given instructions to repatriate them,” Fabic added.

No comments:

Post a Comment