Pinoy contingent stays in Iraq, says Ople
By Jowie F. Corpuz, Correspondent
The Philippine contingent will stay in Iraq
despite the deadly attacks staged by loyalists of toppled leader Saddam Hussein
against coalition forces occupying the war-torn country, Foreign Affairs
Secretary Blas Ople said on Thursday.
“There is a need to continue helping the
people of Iraq in rebuilding their country; this is not the time to abandon
them. We acknowledge that the situation in Iraq is a delicate one but now is not
the time to withdraw. We continue to maintain our political and humanitarian
commitment to the people of Iraq and to the stability and security of the Middle
East,” Ople said.
He pointed out that Filipino diplomats who
regularly monitor the situation in Iraq ensure the safety of the Philippine
contingent, adding that no specific threats have been identified against the
Filipino humanitarian team.
“We also have very professional and
seasoned members of our military and police who, together with the security
forces of other countries, are looking after the safety of our contingent,” he
The team of doctors, soldiers and policemen
there, Ople added, “proudly wears the Philippine flag as they carry out their
He announced that the country will also
actively address the Iraq issue when the Philippines formally assumes its
nonpermanent seat in the United Nations Security Council in January next year.
In a related development, the reduction in
the size of the Philippine Embassy staff in Baghdad is not a sign that the
country’s diplomats are terrified of terrorist attacks.
“This is just administrative adjustments which are not normally broadcast to the public,” Ople said.
Bron : The Manila Times
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