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RP talks with Palau, Indonesia over maritime issues

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines is undergoing talks with Indonesia and Palau to settle the issue on sea border delineation and reach a treaty by the end of the year. A report from Marianas Variety on Monday quoted Palau’s Marine Law Enforcement Chief Ellender Ngirameketii as saying that the negotiations among the three countries were being pushed by Palau Ambassador to the Philippines Ramon Rechebei. The Office of the President of Palau and Minister of State Temmy Shmull are also involved in the talks, according to the Variety. In another report, the Pacific Magazine quoted Ngirameketii as saying that the talks would address Palau’s problem in going after illegal ships sailing in the waters of the island-nation. “With the present situation, we have a difficult time in chasing vessels because we might inadvertently enter either Philippine or Indonesia waters," said Ngirameketii in an interview with Pacific Magazine. The three countries have not yet delineated their maritime borders. The talks to resolve the matter have been going on for three years. As an archipelago, the Philippines does not share land borders with any country but is surrounded by waters and several countries in Southeast Asia. Southwest of the Philippines is Indonesia. Palau is located southeast of the Philippines. Setting international boundaries is needed to strengthen Palau’s maritime laws, according to Ngirameketii. Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda told Antara News that "from the territorial standpoint, clear land and maritime borders are a crucial element to keep the Unitary Republic of Indonesia intact." Indonesia is also resolving maritime boundaries with eight other countries namely Australia, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and India. - GMANews.TV