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Duterte proposes joint operations with Malaysia to fight terrorism

By Ed Adamczyk
Duterte proposes joint operations with Malaysia to fight terrorism
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, said his upcoming visit with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will include talks about a multinational effort to fight piracy and terrorism. Photo courtesy of Rodrigo Duterte/Facebook

DAVAO CITY , Philippines, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said he and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will discuss joint operations to combat the Abu Sayyaf insurgent group.

Duterte said Tuesday that possible unified military and police efforts to address piracy in the Strait of Malacca, and fighting the Muslim group known for terrorism and kidnapping in the Philippines, will be on the agenda when Duterte and Razak meet next week. Duterte will travel to Malaysia for a state visit.

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"We have a lot to talk about piracy in Malacca Strait, kidnapping, criminality. It's very important that Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines talk about these. Once and for all, come up with solution," Duterte said, adding he already discussed a unified policing effort with Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Duterte said terrorist threats paralyze the Philippines' economic growth, and added Malaysia and the Philippines must also address what he called "border crossings" of pirates and terrorists to the Philippine island of Sulu, an Abu Sayyaf hotbed located in waters between the two countries.

"That's the next problem," Duterte said of Sulu. "I said it is coming around and I would like to warn the country that we have this looming problem ahead but I do not want to cause unnecessary alarm. But it is going to be one of the biggest challenges that this generation will face."

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