US, Malaysia leaders say can counter Islamic State message

November 20, 2015 14:42

KUALA LUMPUR - US President Barack Obama said on Friday the United States and Malaysia shared strong security ties with which they could work together to combat the Islamic State's radical narrative.

Following talks with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Obama also said the United States was "monitoring the situation" that was unfolding in Mali, where gunmen had taken 170 people hostage in a raid on a luxury hotel.Obama said the United States and Malaysia have a "very strong relationship on counter-terrorism."

"Malaysia is part of the coalition to fight (Islamic State)and can be extraordinarily helpful on issues like countering the destructive and perverse narrative that's developed," Obama said in reply to questions from reporters.

Both leaders told reporters they had agreed that conflicts over sovereignty in the South China Sea should be settled legally and freedom of navigation should be preserved in its vital commercial shipping lanes.

Obama also said that Malaysia had begun reforms to tackle its human trafficking problems.

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