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Duterte set to pursue Sabah claim

/ 04:50 AM June 02, 2016

DAVAO CITY—President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said he would stick to the  government’s original position on the Sabah issue.

“I stick with the original position of the government, nothing has changed,” Duterte said in reaction to a statement by Malaysian Prime  Minister Najib Razak asking the incoming Philippine leader not to reignite  the Sabah dispute.

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“Yes,” Duterte said, when the Inquirer asked him on his government’s plan  on the country’s claim over the oil-rich Sabah.

“But only through peaceful means. We don’t have the luxury of getting into  trouble or another war, we just have to talk to everybody to develop our  country,” Duterte said.

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“We can’t afford to fight, let’s just talk, and I hope the Malaysians will  understand,” Duterte said. “We will make clear to them what is going to  happen,” he said. “If we file an actual case in (the international) court,  and it is sure we will win, and yet, we don’t want trouble, so can we  resolve this by other means?”

In a report by the Japan-based The Diplomat, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib  Razak was quoted as saying on Monday during his keynote address before  the Asia-Pacific Roundtable in Kuala Lumpur “that Duterte should instead  use his time more productively to help resolve the Moro insurgency than  press the Philippines’ claim on Sabah.

“That certainly would be more productive than reigniting the Sabah claim  issue,” The Diplomat quoted Najib as saying.

Najib also urged the incoming Philippine government to implement instead the  2014 peace deal it had forged with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which Kuala Lumpur helped broker.

He said by implementing the deal, “we can help bring to a close a dispute  that has cost so many lives, we would be honored to do so.”

Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman was quoted by Malaysian media as saying the  Philippines’ claim was “irrelevant” as the issue had long been settled by  the Cobbold Commission.  Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: Features, Global Nation, Rodrigo Duterte, Sabah
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