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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 April, 2005, 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK
Musharraf meets Arroyo in Manila
By Sarah Toms
BBC, Manila

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf with Philippine President Gloria Arroyo
The two leaders said they would co-operate fully on security matters
Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has met Philippine President Gloria Arroyo during a three-day official visit to the Philippines.

It was the first time the two leaders had met for a one-to-one session.

They discussed security co-operation, and expressed a commitment to stop the spread of Islamic militancy.

They also discussed the progress of peace talks currently underway between the Philippine government and Muslim rebels from the south of the country.

Both Pakistan and the Philippines are allies of the United States in the war on terrorism.

President Musharraf infuriated Islamic groups with alleged links to al-Qaeda when he sided with the US after the 11 September attacks in 2001.

President Arroyo, meanwhile, faces the long-term challenge of reconciling the religious and economic aspirations of a Muslim minority in her heavily Roman Catholic country.

The Philippine government restarted peace talks on Monday with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), who have been fighting for an independent state in the southern Philippines for more than 30 years.

President Musharraf was briefed on the progress of the peace talks.

Later, at a joint session of the Philippine Congress, he urged Muslims in the troubled southern Philippines to "shun the path of confrontation" and to "suppress extremism".

Country profile: The Philippines
06 Apr 05 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Pakistan
10 Mar 05 |  Country profiles

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