Zubiri joins calls for Sulu ceasefire

MANILA, Philippines–Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri joined calls for a ceasefire between the military and the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu, where the two remaining kidnapped workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross are still being held.

Zubiri’s statement came after Mary Jean Lacaba, one of the hostages, was freed Thursday night after 78 days of captivity.

He described Lacaba’s release a “triumph for humanitarian workers all over the world.

“And we thank all those who helped in her release,” Zubiri said in a statement on Friday.

“However, we still have two other aid workers in captivity of the ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) and we need to use all types of diplomacy to see to it that they come out alive,” he said.

Zubiri then supported Senator Richard Gordon’s call for a ceasefire on the ground “to show good faith on the part of our government that we want to talk first rather than shoot on this issue.” Gordon is the chairman of Philippine National Red Cross.

But at the same time, Zubiri backed Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro’s position not to withdraw troops in Sulu as demanded by the Islamic extremist group.

“That would be tantamount to allowing the whole island to be hostaged by these extremists and even their moderate Muslim brothers and sisters would oppose this,” he said.

“But for now let us relish the miracle of the release of Lacaba with the hope that these miracles do come true,” he further said.

Maila Ager, INQUIRER.net
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Published in: on April 3, 2009 at 1:41 pm  Comments Off on Zubiri joins calls for Sulu ceasefire  
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