NEWSFLASH

RP EYES SOLUTION TO IRAQI CRISIS

MANILA, January 14, 2003 (STAR)  The Philippines continues to have faith in the United Nationsí process in seeking a peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis, President Arroyo said.

Interviewed by Maria Ressa of Cable News Network (CNN), the President said that she is certain that it will work out this time as it did the first time.

She was referring to the unanimous resolution adopted by the UN in resuming its arms inspection in Iraq, which the Iraqi government has accepted.

"I am saying the same thing today," she said.

Asked how the Philippines would react in the event of a US attack on Iraq, Mrs. Arroyo said that itís very hypothetical as it was hypothetical the last time around.

"If we had given ourselves to dwell on the hypothetical, we would not have given the chance for that unanimous resolution to come out."

The President disclosed that terrorism remained her biggest concern at the moment.

She told Ressa that military, political, cultural and economic solutions are important to ward off terrorism.

She explained that a military solution, is necessary "to make sure that we win" while the political solution would assure that peace talks will be explored for those who are willing to give peace a chance.

"The economic solution, of course, is to remove the recruiting ground for terrorism which is to really not be distracted from our fight against poverty," she said.

Asked by Ressa whether the same priorities were evident in the United States, Mrs. Arroyo said that the Americans, by and large, agree with her hypothesis that the war against terrorism cannot just be won militarily.

She noted the global alliance against terrorism in the US and its counterpart coalition in Southeast Asia.

"This kind of alliance has been quite successful in defusing the evil of terrorism," she said.

Mrs. Arroyo added that the war on terrorism is a global transnational war devoid of boundaries. Thus, she is urging unity, sharing of intelligence and cooperation.


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