PRESIDENT Arroyo expressed confidence Thursday that new Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono would be a strong ally in the fight against regional militant groups.
The two countries and their embassies abroad have been hit by bomb attacks staged by allies and members of the Jemaah Islamiah, a regional Muslim extremist group considered the Southeast Asian chapter of the al-Qaeda network.
“We are confident that he will wield a firm hand to unify his people on the road to stability and progress,” Arroyo said in a statement, a day after Yudhoyono took office.
“We shall continue to stand beside Indonesia in the fight against terror and to attain collective security and progress in Asean,” Arroyo said.
Arroyo also expressed hope that Yudhoyono would sustain Indonesia’s “durable support” for her government’s peace negotiations with Muslim separatist guerrillas in the southern region of Mindanao.
The Philippines and Indonesia are mainstays of Asean, which also includes Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.