Talks on Sabah claim impossible while fighting rages – De Lima
MANILA, Philippines–The Philippine government cannot make a stand on the Sabah claim while there is an ongoing clash between Malaysian troops and armed Filipinos in the area, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said.
“The government cannot be forced to take a stand with the crisis ongoing,” De Lima told reporters.
De Lima is conducting a study on the legality of the Sabah claim. However, she cannot be rushing it because it is a complex matter.
“I am working on it. I am still working on it. I cannot be rushing it because it is a very complex issue,” she said adding that she is about 90 percent done.
She said result of her study, which she hopes to submit to President Benigno Aquino III within the week cannot be significant unless the conflict in Sabah is finished.
Since third week of February, the DOJ has been reviewing policies of previous administrations about the legality of claims of the sultanate of Sulu over Sabah to be used as guide to peacefully resolve the Sabah conflict.
The study includes the validity or legal basis of the claim as well as an assessment of its strength or weakness.
“Pwede pag-usapan ang Sabah claim kapag tapos na ang crisis. Hindi ito pwede pagsabayin (Negotiations on Sabah claim are possible if the crisis there is over. It’s impossible to hold talks while there’s an ongoing crisis),” she added.
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