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Asean banks on M'sia to resolve crisis in West Asia
Published on: Sunday, July 16, 2017

KLUANG: Asean, particularly Muslim countries in the region, are banking on Malaysia to resolve the diplomatic crisis in West Asia, says Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

In this regard, he will be representing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in a visit to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) beginning today (Sunday) till July 21.

"I am representing the Prime Minister to personally listen to all sides on what the cause of the problem is. This is crucial because Islam and the image of Islam have been tarnished.

"We have to make every possible effort...to at least demonstrate our unity as Muslim countries because our enemy is one and the same – Daesh, militants, parties that attack the image of Islam itself.

"Malaysia is bringing the hope of those of us in Asean; this is the message I want to deliver," he told reporters after the launch of a carnival organised by the Malaysian Armed Forces and Ministry of Defence at Taman Sri Lambak, near here, Saturday.

Although the United States and Kuwait are acting as mediators in the crisis, it was important, he said, for Muslim countries themselves to find ways to help minimise its impact on the image of Islam.

"The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Arab League can play a role; the three Muslim countries of Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia too can play a role. We feel every effort should be directed to something that builds rather than divides," he said.

According to him, Malaysia would play the best possible role as it had good relations with the countries involved. "I will also meet with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Salman on how we can help constructively; rather than fanning and dividing, we need to make them aware that we as Muslims must be united," he said.

Hishammuddin, who is also Special Functions Minister, is scheduled to visit Kuwait and Qatar after visiting the three West Asian countries.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Egypt and Yemen cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, claiming the move was taken to protect their respective governments from terrorism and extremism, which Qatar allegedly support.

In the course of his visit, Hishammuddin would obtain actual information on reports that Daesh was losing its strength in Syria and Iraq.

"Our fear is that those fleeing from Syria and Iraq might be spying on us here…so our network and intelligence connection particularly with Arab countries are very important," he said.

Recently, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi claimed victory over Daesh after Iraqi troops captured the al-Nuri mosque and al-Hadba tower in Mosul where Daesh had declared their "caliphate" in June 2014.

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