Indonesia calls on new PH gov’t to ensure Sulu Sea security
JAKARTA—Indonesia has asked the new Philippine government to ensure security in the Sulu Sea as the two countries continue their joint efforts to secure the release of Indonesian sailors abducted by armed Philippine militants.
Indonesia will not tolerate such criminal acts, said Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi, calling on the Philippines to guarantee security in Sulu waters during a meeting with newly inaugurated counterpart Perfecto Yasay in Manila on Friday, according to a statement released by the ministry.
The statement says Retno met Yasay to ensure that the cooperation between the two countries established under the previous government is continued. The move comes one day after the inauguration of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, and Retno is the first foreign official to meet the newly installed Yasay.
“The meeting with Secretary Yasay holds an important meaning in the sense of sustaining the cooperation between the Indonesian and Philippine governments in the efforts to release the hostages,” Retno said in the statement.
At the meeting, she continued, both ministers agreed to establish a “communication hotline”, while the Philippines also agreed to establish “close coordination” with Indonesian authorities for the safe release of the seven Indonesian sailors. Retno stressed that the safety of the hostages was the main priority in the release efforts.
Indonesia is currently facing its third hostage situation this year; all incidents occurred while Indonesian sailors were traversing waters off Sulu in the southern Philippines.