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M’sia seeks return of two Guantanamo detainees

KUALA LUMPUR, 15 May 2009: Malaysia has expressed its hope to the United States for the return of two citizens currently held at the US-operated military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  

The matter was raised during a bilateral meeting yesterday between Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman and his counterpart Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the state department in Washington DC.

“Malaysia had expressed its hope for the return of the two Malaysians once the process of review of the two prisoners are completed and has expressed its willingness to accept the return of the two Malaysians,” Wisma Putra said in a statement here.

The two, Mohd Farik Amin or Zaid (Zubair) and Mohammed Nazir Lep or Bashir Lep (Lillie), held at Guantanamo Bay for alleged involvement in the militant group Jemaah Islamiah and Al-Qaeda since 2003, are among 250 detainees at the US facility.

During the meeting, both countries also reaffirmed their commitment towards the conclusion of the bilateral Free Trade Agreement.

“At the same time, Malaysia hopes that the United States as a major economic power would exercise flexibility and understanding to help facilitate towards the conclusion of the Malaysia-US Free Trade Agreement (Musfta),” said the statement.

According to the statement, both leaders also discussed ways and means to further enhance the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Malaysia also voiced its appreciation of the United States’s support for its efforts in combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden and hoped to draw from its experiences in dealing with the situation of armed sea robberies in the Straits of Malacca.

Both leaders also exchanged views on the global financial crisis and Malaysia reiterated its readiness to share its past experiences with the United States in dealing with a financial and economic crisis, and towards reforms of the international financial architecture.

They also discussed issues surrounding Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as the Middle East Peace Process and the overall image of the United States towards Muslim countries.

Malaysia remained supportive of the efforts made by the Obama administration to reach out to the Muslim countries and welcomed its commitment towards a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict, as well as appreciated its support to the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap toward peace.

“Malaysia also welcomes the role of the United States as an honest broker towards realising a permanent and lasting peace in the Middle East,” the statement said.

Anifah also extended an invitation for Hillary Clinton to visit Malaysia in July when she is scheduled to attend the Asean Post-Ministerial Conference and the Asean Regional Forum meetings. — Bernama

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