RP TO GET ADVANCE ATTACK WARNING FROM U.S. -- GOLEZ

Manila, Jan. 29, 2003 - The United States has assured the Philippines it will give "ample advance warning" if Washington decides to launch a military strike against Iraq, National Security Adviser Roilo Golez said yesterday.

Golez said US State Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage assured him by telephone that "there is no reason for alarm" and that the report from the chief UN arms inspectors on Iraq was not likely to spark war this week.

President George W. Bush's state of the union address on Tuesday is also "not expected to contain a dramatic declaration on Iraq and that it (the speech) will be mostly on domestic issues," Golez quoted Armitage as telling him.

"The report of the UN weapons inspection team and the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iraq is not going to be a trigger for full-scale war in the region this week," Golez said in statement.

The Philippines on Monday placed all its embassies in the Middle East on the highest state of alert in anticipation of hostilities in Iraq. An evacuation plan for some 1.5 million Filipinos working in the region has also been laid down.

President Arroyo, a staunch Southeast Asian ally of the United States, has said her government was willing to extend logistical support to any US strike on Iraq, but has called for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.


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