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RP to help Afghanistan on engineers, technicians, development experts

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines is ready to help Afghanistan with its need for engineers and technicians, particularly in the health sector, and more development experts.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo made this statement during a bilateral meeting with Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Zalmai Rassoul at the sidelines of the Special Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial Meeting (SNAMMM) on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace and Development on Thursday at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

During the meeting, Rassoul also briefed Romulo on developments in Afghanistan, including his country’s need for engineers and technicians.

Expressing support for Afghanistan’s efforts against religious extremism and violence, Romulo told Rassoul, “We are one with you.”

Romulo stressed that the success of an interfaith dialogue depends on countries like Afghanistan whose initiatives foster trust and understanding and combat ignorance.

Despite the Philippine government’s deployment ban, the government said the number of overseas Filipino workers in Afghanistan has reached close to 1,500.

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Reports said there are about 500 OFWs in Kabul and around 1,000 in Southern Afghanistan. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reiterated its advisory to the public not to travel to or seek employment in Afghanistan due to the unstable and volatile security situation in the country

After 25 years of various conflicts, and parallel to the rebuilding of political and societal institutions of the state, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan said the country is in the process of rebuilding physical infrastructure and economic foundations.

There have been remarkable achievements in the fields of reconstruction and development but the Foreign Ministry said there have been few reports about these.

Since the collapse of the Taliban regime, the Ministry said Afghanistan’s national economy is growing steadily with the support of international partners.

Meantime, interfaith dialogue and the need for a lasting peace in the Middle East were discussed during a bilateral meeting between Romulo and Syrian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Fayssal Mikdad at the sidelines of the SNAMMM.

“Syria is a model for interfaith dialogue, as it shows how it is open to different religions and how different faiths can live together in harmony,” Romulo said.

Mikdad said peace can also be achieved through interfaith dialogue and Syria is taking concrete steps towards achieving a lasting peace in the Middle East through brokering peace agreements with the different countries.

Romulo also met with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic.

It is the first time a Serbian Foreign Minister visited the Philippines. Jeremic expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome he received from Filipinos and lauded the Philippines’ efforts in hosting the SNAMMM and pushing for interfaith dialogue.

He said Serbia plans to host a similar NAM ministerial meeting next year in Belgrade to mark the 50th anniversary of a NAM conference held in the Serbian capital.

Romulo, meantime, reiterated that the friendship the Philippines has with Serbia will continue and deepen through economic cooperation.

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