US keeping hands off Sabah conflict

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@FMangosingINQ

02:34 PM March 21st, 2013

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By: Frances Mangosing, March 21st, 2013 02:34 PM

Malaysian soldiers discuss strategies at Sungai Nyamuk where a stand-off with Filipino gunmen took place, near Tanduo village in Lahad Datu, Borneo’s Sabah state, Malaysia, on Thursday, March 14, 2013. Malaysian security forces twice clashed with the “royal army” during mopping-up operations in Tanjung Batu in Lahad Datu on Monday, March 18, 2013, Malaysian police Chief Insp. Gen. Ismail Omar said. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The United States is keeping its hands off the Sabah conflict, saying it was something Washington is not “involved with in any way.”

“This is a matter between the governments of the Philippines of Malaysia,” US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas told reporters in a briefing Thursday.

He also did not comment further on the Sultanate of Sulu’s plan to seek US intervention by invoking a 1915 agreement with the US colonial agreement with US colonial government to the Philippines, the Kiram-Carpenter agreement.

Part of the agreement was “full protection to the sultan of Sulu should the question of Sabah arise in the future between the sultanate and any foreign authority.”

“We’re not looking to respond in any manner to that invocation of the treaty. We do not see this as a security matter that affects the United States or our Mutual Defense Treaty that we have with the Philippines in any manner,” he said.

“I can’t stop them from you know speaking but again as I said this is not something were involved and we do seek to be involved in any way,” he also said.

He added that “they would never interfere” in the sovereign rights of the Philippine government or try to tell President Benigno Aquino III or Prime Minister Najib Razak how to resolve the challenge.

Thomas also said he was “very pleased” that the framework agreement between the Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front facilitated by Malaysia has not been affected with the Sabah issue.

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