FVR urges heart-to-heart talk between PNoy, Kiram
MANILA - Former President Fidel V. Ramos advised President Benigno Aquino III to soften his stance and hear out the grievances of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III in connection with the claim over Sabah.
Aquino’s move to reach out to Kiram will put an end to the bloody clashes between the latter’s followers and Malaysian troops, Ramos told reporters upon arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 on Sunday afternoon.
He said he will formally write a letter to Aquino, highlighting the need for a one-on-one talk with Kiram and his followers.
Ramos said he is giving this advice as a senior statesman and a former president of the country who has gone through disputes in the past. As president between 1992 and 1998, Ramos pushed for a financial settlement between the Sulu sultanate and Malaysia.
The former president also said Aquino should not waste precious minutes – amid the growing death toll in Sabah – also in tapping the help the country’s neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in particular the BIMP-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
The latter refers to the cooperation between Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines to improve economic development.
Kiram announced an immediate ceasefire last week following calls by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Malaysian defense officials rejected the call, however, amid the rising number of reported deaths and reported harassment of innocent civilians.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said they won’t consider any request for a ceasefire as long as the armed intruders refuse to leave.