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12/09/2008: US Official: Philippine-US Cooperation in Fight Against Terrorism Very, Very Successful

At a press briefing held at the U.S. State Department on 10 September 2008, U.S. State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Ambassador Dell L. Dailey, remarked that “the Philippine Government and its relation with the United States Government’s bilateral efforts in Mindanao along with Jolo and the islands that are out there have been very, very successful.”

Ambassador Dailey also noted that part of the success of this collaboration is U.S. compliance with the Philippine Government request for the Americans to avoid a very aggressive and overbearing presence in the area in recognition of constitutional and historical factors.

With regard to the GRP-MILF peace process, Ambassador Dailey noted that despite some recent problems, he said, “in the scheme of things, the strategy has been a sound strategy.” The Philippines was cited as leading the way with its efforts to achieve political reconciliation and the reintegration of the MILF.

From a regional perspective, Ambassador Dailey explained that the Jemaah Islamiyah, which is affiliated with Al Qaeda, continues to be the biggest concern of the U.S. in Southeast Asia. However, he commended countries in Southeast Asia, such as the Philippines, for excellent work in sharing intelligence not just bilaterally between them and the United States, but also within their respective government agencies. Southeast Asian countries have been successful in their cross-border and trans-regional relationship that is critical in effectively addressing the threat in the region. END.