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Philippines: Politics and Government

Volume 490: debated on Monday 23 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will have discussions with the Government of the Philippines on the implications for the political situation in that country of the kidnapping of the members of the International Committee of the Red Cross. (265785)

We are aware that on 15 January 2009 three members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), including two foreign nationals, were kidnapped on the island of Sulu in the southern Philippines. The terrorist group Abu Sayyaf claims to be holding them captive. Our embassy in Manila has been following the case closely. We welcome reports by the ICRC that one of the hostages has been released and we hope the two remaining members will be freed unharmed.

We are concerned about on-going terrorist and insurgent activity in the southern Philippines. Our ambassador in Manila regularly discusses the conflict in the southern Philippines, including wider political implications, with the Philippines Government. The UK has been sharing its experience from the Northern Ireland Peace Process with the Philippines Government to help the Government in its efforts towards achieving peace in Mindanao.