Pinoy peacekeepers can stay in Golan Heights until Aug. 11
Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - July 6, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has agreed to continue with the deployment of 340 Filipino peacekeepers in the Golan Heights until Aug. 11, but the extension of their duty will be subject to conditions, Malacañang said yesterday.

The Philippines earlier considered pulling out the Filipino troops ahead of time after some of them were kidnapped by Syrian rebels.

In a press briefing in Malacañang, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said an assessment team had made a recommendation to the President for the continued stay of the peacekeepers in the Golan Heights but after Aug. 11, a rotational process would be determined.

“Subject to meeting considerations which the Philippines has made to enhance the security and safety of our peacekeepers, the President has expressed that the Philippines is prepared to continue its UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force) participation,” Lacierda said, quoting a statement from Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.

The President wants more enhanced security and safety for Filipino peacekeepers serving in the Golan Heights, Lacierda said, adding that the Philippine government is coordinating with the UN to meet the requirements on their safety and security.

“We are asking for some considerations from the United Nations. We are presently coordinating with them and what is very clear is that we are committed to stay until Aug. 11 and then we will talk,” Lacierda said.

Asked if the Philippine government would pull out the peacekeepers if the safety requirements were not met, Lacierda said the Palace would leave the issue to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The UN earlier appealed to the Philippine government not to remove its troops from the Golan Heights.

The recommendation only applies to peacekeepers deployed in the Golan Heights and not to those serving in other areas, Lacierda said. – With Pia Lee-Brago

 

 

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS EDWIN LACIERDA FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERT GOLAN HEIGHTS LACIERDA MALACA PRESIDENT AQUINO UNITED NATIONS UNITED NATIONS DISENGAGEMENT OBSERVER FORCE WITH PIA LEE-BRAGO
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