Indonesia pushes for pact to resolve security threats in Sulu Sea
Indonesia has invited the Philippines and Malaysia to take joint action to resolve security threats in the Sulu Sea.
The three countries must start to closely cooperate to secure the waters following increasing threats by militant groups in the Philippines, Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said at the third Trilateral Defense Ministerial Meeting in Nusa Dua Bali on Tuesday.
The meeting is being attended by Ryamizard, Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Philippine National Defense Minister Delfin N Lorenzana.
“In this meeting, it is important that we make a new agreement to maintain stability and peace in the Sulu region,” Ryamizard said.
Ryamizard stressed the importance of the second meeting in Manila in July that resulted in several agreements, such as those on joint maritime patrols, intelligence exchange and the finalisation of standard operational procedures.
“Now is a right time to conduct a series of activities, including sharing information and intelligence and implementing joint maritime patrols for the safety of the people and the vessels,” Ryamizard stressed.
“Implementation of the agreement must be conducted as soon as possible due to the high intensity of threats, such as the hostage-taking of several Indonesians by militant groups,” he added.
Ten Indonesians are being held hostage by militant groups in the Philippines.
“I really appreciate the attempt of the Philippines to release the Indonesian citizens,” said Ryamizard.
“I hope this cooperation can be implemented immediately. We realise that there are differences in operating systems as well as in legal aspects of this trilateral cooperation. However, I believe that the working group must discuss this matter and agree to establish an appropriate mechanism,” Ryamizard added.