published Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Philippines' top diplomat recommends peacekeepers stay in Golan Heights

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ top diplomat says he has reversed an earlier recommendation to the president and now wants about 340 Filipino peacekeepers to stay in the Golan Heights for at least six months after the U.N. promised to bolster their safety.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told a news conference in Manila on Wednesday that U.N. officials assured him in a recent meeting in New York that they would fulfill three conditions laid down by the Philippine government, including providing the peacekeepers with more self-defense weapons.

Del Rosario asked President Benigno Aquino III in May to withdraw the peacekeepers from Golan due to escalating hostilities between Syrian rebels and government troops in the U.N.-patrolled buffer zone that separates Syria from the Israeli-occupied plateau.

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