Palace: Hasten talks to free ICRC workers

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has asked negotiators to speed up talks for the release of three Red Cross workers from their Abu Sayyaf captors in Sulu.

While negotiations were the “primary effort,” Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the redeployment of military forces to the vicinity of the kidnappers’ lair was a reminder to the Abu Sayyaf that “government was not without measures to undertake.”

“Hanggat maaari, madaliin natin [We should speed it up as much as possible]. The directive of the President as usual is to ensure the safety of the hostages,” Ermita told a news conference at the Palace.

Ermita said that even as troops pulled out of the vicinity of the Abu Sayya’s lair a few days back, the bandits did not make good its promise to release one of the three hostages and instead demanded a total pullout of troops from Jolo Island.

“They [Abu Sayyaf] even sent out threats. We just want to show that government is not without the necessary measures to undertake in order to resolve the issue,” he said.

A state of emergency was declared in Sulu on Tuesday after the Abu Sayyaf’s deadline for the total troop pullout lapsed, without any of the hostages having been beheaded.

Joel Guinto, INQUIRER.net

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Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 12:40 pm  Comments Off on Palace: Hasten talks to free ICRC workers  
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