RP 'working' on repairing ties with US Albert

INQ7.net with GMA 7

THE PHILIPPINES is "working" on repairing the damage caused by its decision to pull out its troops from Iraq on its relationship with the United States.

"We are working on it," Foreign Affairs Secretary Delia Albert was quoted as saying on GMA Network's "Flash Report" newscast on Friday, when asked on the status of country's relationship with the US.

Washington expressed dismay and then scolded Manila when it decided to withdraw its 51-member humanitarian contingent from Iraq in exchange for the release of truck driver Angelo de la Cruz whom Iraqi rebels abducted last week. It said the Philippines would send the "wrong signal" to terrorists.

US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone assured the country on Thursday that the two countries remained allies.

Eleven more members of the humanitarian team prepared to pull out of Iraq on Friday. On Wednesday, the first batch of eight policemen left the war-torn country.

On Thursday, pan-Arab satellite television network Al-Jazeera released a video of De la Cruz where he allegedly assured his family and friends that he was safe and would come home soon.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been a staunch ally of the US in its fight against terrorism, having been one of the first world leaders to condole with President George W. Bush following the Sept.11, 1991 attacks on key American landmarks, which killed thousands.

Bush acknowledged Arroyo's support for the war on terrorism by, among others, making the Philippines a major non-NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) ally and providing military training and logistics to counter the country's own battle against domestic terrorists, notably the Abu Sayyaf Group in Mindanao. Joel Francis Guinto

16/07/2004

Bron : INQ7.net

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