Christian Action Network

Daily Terrorism News; WebPage @ www.ChristianAction.Org

Australia Boosts Counter-Terrorism Assistance To Philippines

(Asia Pulse) Australia will help the Philippines bolster its fight against terrorism, sending troops to train its soldiers and donating up to 30 high-speed gunboats. 

The closer security ties are part of a landmark status of forces agreement (SOFA) signed by Australia and the Philippines today during a visit by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. 

Under the agreement, Australian forces will hold joint military exercises with their Philippine counterparts and extend their work training soldiers. 

The government would not say whether Special Air Service (SAS) personnel would be involved but did indicate previous assistance had included counter-hijack training, work which would be carried out by the elite SAS force. 

Up to 30 high-speed gunboats will also be provided for use by Filipino forces to patrol marshland areas on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. 

The predominantly Muslim island is home to terrorist groups such as the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah and Abu Sayyaf, who take advantage of the region’s porous borders to evade authorities. 

Philippine officials say the gunboats, which can each carry six soldiers and three crewmen and navigate with a global positioning system, are to be delivered in batches starting this year. 

Arroyo welcomed the help of allies like Australia in battling terrorism, which has resulted in hundreds of deaths in the Philippines. 

“Our allies help us root out and destroy these vicious killers who ply their dislocated and evil ideology on the innocent,” she told reporters after meeting Prime Minister John Howard. 

While her country was making great strides to wipe out the “scourge” of terrorism, Arroyo said the Australian assistance would help modernise and professionalise the Philippines’ armed forces. 

“The security situation in the Philippines has improved substantially, both in our fight against domestic terrorists and in our coordinated hunt for regional terrorists seeking refuge in some of our most remote islands in the south,” she said. 

She believes tackling the insurgent problem in violence-prone Mindanao could have economic benefits for the whole country. 

“A permanent peace will bring a new era of economic development to Mindanao and also to the entire Philippines,” she said.

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May 31, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror

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