• PH, France ink defense accord

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    DEFENSE Sec. Voltaire Gazmin and French Amb. Thierry Mathou have finally signed an agreement that would serve as a framework of defense cooperation between the Philippines and France, following two years of negotiations.

    “Our relationship would be further enhanced as we institutionalize our cooperation through this Agreement,” Gazmin said during the signing ceremony.

    Under the framework, both countries agreed to focus their cooperation on high-level dialogues and defense policy consultations, visits of defense and armed forces authorities, education and training exchanges, and cooperation in the fields of defense equipment and logistics.

    Gazmin said the conclusion of the Philippines-France Defense Arrangement is very timely given the increasing defense and security challenges that both countries are confronted with.

    He added that the would likewise enable France and the Philippines to cooperate in various regional security concerns to include Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR), maritime security and counter-terrorism, among other things.

    “Now that the Agreement has been signed, we could start working on its implementation, Gazmin said. “I am optimistic that we would be able to draw up a tangible cooperation pursuant to this Agreement in the near future.” FERNAN MARASIGAN

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