Malaysia Says Awaiting Formal Request on Hostage Mediators
Malaysian officials said Monday they were awaiting a formal request from the Philippine government for Malaysian mediators to intercede with the Abu Sayyaf kidnap gang.
"We need to confirm the request with the Philippine government and our embassy in Manila," said Mustapha Ahmad Marican, press secretary to Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar.
"We have yet to receive any official request (to send two mediators) from Manila," he told AFP.
The Abu Sayyaf kidnappers earlier Monday postponed their threatened beheading of three US hostages after Philippine President Gloria Arroyo bowed to their demand for Malaysian mediators.
Arroyo's spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao said Manila would contact Kuala Lumpur to allow politician Sairin Karno and businessman Yusuf Hamdan to mediate.
Last year the two Malaysians helped mediate in the release of dozens of foreigners and locals including several Malaysians abducted by the rebels. Huge ransoms were reportedly paid.
Sairin, a former member of Malaysia's upper house of parliament, said last week he would only negotiate once given the green light by his government -- KUALA LUMPUR (AFP)
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