Australia offers to train Philippine troops on counter-terrorism

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-08 23:02:54|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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MANILA, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said on Friday that Australia offered to send military specialists to the Philippines to train Philippine troops on counter-terrorism, reiterating Australia's commitment to support Manila in combating Islamist extremism.

Payne, in Manila for a visit, met with Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana inside a military camp. She and Lorenzana spoke to reporters after her meeting with Lorenzana.

"What we have discussed today is deployment of a small ADF (Australian Defense Force) team that might be able to provide some specialized training to the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines)," Payne told reporters.

"We would be, for example, able to provide that support within Philippine military bases, so, not deploying Australian troops, but working with training ... within Philippine military bases."

Payne said the details of the proposed training activities will still be threshed out by the AFP and ADF "to make sure that we put together an arrangement that works best for both of us."

She said Australia can "increase our engagement, surge if you like in the context of current affairs, and we will ask our officials to finalize this process."

"We all need to work together to defeat (terrorism). It is a threat not just here in the Philippines but elsewhere," the Australian minister said.

Lorenzana clarified that Australian soldiers will not directly fight the pro-IS terrorists operating in the country.

"We have sufficient troops to fight in Marawi," Lorenzana said, referring to the ongoing battle to retake the southern Philippine city of Marawi from Islamist extremists that overran most of the city in May.

Australia has sent two P3 Orion surveillance planes to help the Philippine security troops track the IS militants in Marawi.

Lorenzana said that Australian troops can help train Philippine soldiers in gathering and analyzing intelligence information.