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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - MANILA: The Philippines and the UAE should boost their defense and security cooperation, the Philippine military has said, as delegates from the Emirati National Defense College continued their week-long visit to the southeast Asian country.
The 19-member party from the Abu Dhabi-based college arrived on March 11 for a study tour to the Philippines, the first such trip aimed at strengthening Philippine-UAE relations.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines quoted its chief of staff, Gen. Andres Centino, as saying that the visit was “an opportunity to build relations with allies.”
In a statement, the military said: “He emphasized the significance of dynamic exchanges of information to acquire better perspectives and create good relations with the country’s partners and allies.
“Furthermore, he encouraged the pursuit of more robust defense and security cooperation between the two countries.”
Manila and Abu Dhabi have been in advanced discussions to boost defense ties.
“An MoU (memorandum of understanding) on defense is being finalized,” Filipino ambassador to the UAE, Alfonso A. Ver, recently told Arab News.
“Last year, several companies from the UAE’s defense conglomerate EDGE visited the Philippines for possible cooperative ventures,” he said, referring to the UAE’s state-owned weapons maker.
The UAE delegation on Wednesday attended briefings by the Philippine Information Agency and the National Defense College of the Philippines, where officials discussed security challenges faced by the two countries.
NDCP acting vice president for academic affairs and dean, Dr. Alan Lachica, pointed out that the Philippines and the UAE faced similar risks as they were in areas with dynamic geopolitical developments in their respective regions.
In a report by state-run news agency PNA, Lachica said: “The UAE is a major ally in the Gulf region.
“This visit is significant in terms of our defense diplomacy and foreign policy.”
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