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Malaysian:US keeps distance from Sabah crisis

US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas said the US was leaving it up to both Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to resolve the issue as he expressed hope that the matter would be resolved peacefully. In a meet with defence reporters Thursday, Thomas said the Sabah problem was “not a matter for the United States.” “We do not see this as a security matter that affects us or the Mutual Defense Treaty we have with the Philippines,” he added. The online news portal InterAxyson quotes the ambassador as saying the US was not involved and does not want to be involved in the problem “in any way.” The Sulu sultanate earlier said it might seek US help in backing up its claim to Sabah by invoking the 1915 Kiram-Carpenter agreement which would reportedly give the sultanate American protection. The agreement states that the Americans “assured the sultan of Sulu of (its) full protection should a problem arise in Sabah between the sultan of Sulu and other foreign countries,” Abraham Idjirani, sultanate spokesman, earlier said. Thomas, meanwhile, said the US was “very pleased” that the peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was not affected by the Sabah conflict.


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