Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines to Increase Security in Border Areas

Indonesian FM Retno Marsudi
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi

Jakarta, 25 Rajab 1437/03 May 2016 (MINA) – The Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno LP Marsudi, has said Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines will work together to improve security in the border areas to tackle acts of piracy being committed by the Abu Sayyaf armed group.

“Security in the border areas and the surroundings concerns all of us. The governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines are taking steps to enhance security in the border areas and the surroundings,” the minister said here on Monday.

The minister said she and the Indonesian military commander will meet with their counterparts from Malaysia and the Philippines on May 5, 2016 in Jakarta.

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In the trilateral meeting, the governments of the three countries will explore the possibility of joint patrols in the waters around Sulawesi (Indonesia), Zamboanga (Malaysia) and Sulu (Philippines), which are prone to piracy and hostage-taking, Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA), quoting Antara.

The water areas are strategic economic sea lanes for the three countries and others to enter the ASEAN region.

The trilateral meeting will ensure that cooperation in the economic field is not disturbed by the increasing threats in the region.

Regarding acts of hostage-taking by the armed groups, the minister said the government always puts the safety of Indonesians first.

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In addition, she said, the government always opens all lines of communication with many parties to secure the release of hostages and mount a rescue process.

“My visit to the Philippines aims to establish a network with various parties,” Retno said.

She added that the strategy of the Indonesian government is to secure the release of hostages from the clutches of the armed groups through diplomatic efforts.

“The strategy, led by the government, involves all elements. Again, I emphasize that the government will not pay any ransom to the hostage-takers,” the minister said.   (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)