Indonesia Agrees to Launch Joint Patrols with Malaysia and Philippines

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi (C) listens to Malaysia's Foreign Minister Anifah Aman (L), as Philippines' Foreign Minister Jose Rene D. Almendras (R) looks on, during a trilateral meeting in Yogyakarta,
Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi listens to Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Anifah Aman (L), as Philippines’ Foreign Minister Jose Rene D. Almendras (R) looks on, during a trilateral meeting in Yogyakarta,

Jakarta, 28 Rajab 1437/06 May 2016 (MINA) – Indonesia has agreed to hold joint patrols in cooperation with Malaysia and the Philippines in their common maritime border areas.

The joint patrol agreement was the first point of the list of issues to be discussed during a trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers and military officers of the three countries held in Yogyakarta on Thursday.

“The point to be discussed in detail is cooperation to hold joint patrols like what the situation would be on the field and how the cooperation will be implemented,” President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) stated after receiving the foreign ministers and military officers of the three nations.

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The head of state received foreign ministers Retno Marsudi of Indonesia and Dato Sri Anifah Aman of Malaysia and Philippines Foreign Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras, Antara was quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting..

The president also received commanders of the defense forces: General Gatot Nurmantyo of Indonesia, Tan Sri Dato General Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin of Malaysia, and Vice Admiral Caesar Taccad of the Philippines.

The second matter to be discussed at length is the response to any on-field incident.

“(We should discuss what) actions need to be taken when an incident occurs on the field,” noted the president.

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The meeting will also discuss the prompt exchange of information.

“This will be done through the establishment of a hotline among the crisis centers of Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia,” he explained.

Standard operational procedure (SOP) is the fourth point that will be discussed.

“We have given directives to create a clear SOP, so steps can be taken together,” Jokowi added.

The decision to patrol the Sulu and Celebes seas, which together form a key waterway between the three countries, comes just over a week after the southern Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf beheaded a Canadian captive.

Abu Sayyaf gangs have earned many millions of dollars from kidnapping foreigners and locals in the region since the early 1990s.

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Ten Indonesian sailors were abducted off the southern Philippines by Abu Sayyaf in March, but returned home last week after being freed.  (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)