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Volume 405: debated on Thursday 15 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had on the level of bombing in the Philippines. [112608]

Our Ambassador in the Philippines has regular discussions with a range of contacts, including Philippine government representatives, about the continuing terrorist threat in the Philippines and how best to address it. The British Government has been providing training to help the Philippines authorities deal with the terrorist threat.When they met President Arroyo in January 2002 and December 2001 respectively, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter, the then FCO Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ben Bradshaw), both commended the Philippines government's efforts to tackle its domestic terrorist threat and its support for the international campaign against terrorism. I also raised these issues with the Philippines' Foreign Minister Guingona when we met in June 2002. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no opportunity to discuss terrorism with members of the Philippines' government.