Sep 152014

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA1853 2005-04-22 07:27 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001853



E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/22/2015

Classified By: (U) Political Officer Paul O’Friel
for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

¶1. (C) SUMMARY. President Musharraf’s state visit produced
a new counterterrorism cooperation agreement that will
regularize and expand intelligence exchanges between
Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate and the
Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Musharraf publicly endorsed Manila’s bid for observer status
with the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and backed
the Philippine government’s negotiations to end a
decades-long Muslim secessionist struggle in Mindanao. In
private remarks, however, he warned that the Philippines must
do more to counter Islamist extremism, or risk becoming the
new front line in the war against terror. END SUMMARY.

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¶2. (C) Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf capped his April
18-20 state visit to the Philippines — the first-ever by a
Pakistani president — with the signing of a memorandum of
understanding boosting intelligence cooperation between the
two countries. (Note: President Arroyo joined her father,
former President Diosdado Macapagal, on the first visit of a
Philippine leader to Pakistan in 1962. End Note.) According
to Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) South Asia Director
Nathaniel Imperial, the agreement, which is similar to
intelligence exchanges the Philippines has established with
other states, closes a significant gap in intelligence
sharing. Imperial told poloff April 21 that the MOU
regularizes heretofore ad hoc annual intelligence
discussions, with a commitment to institutionalize and
upgrade exchanges between Pakistan’s Inter-Service
Intelligence Directorate (ISID) and the Intelligence Service
of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP). “We hope for
very key high-level exchanges soon,” Imperial said. (Note.
According to press reports, National Security Advisor
Norberto Gonzales plans a follow up meeting with Pakistani
counterparts in Islamabad on June 22. End note.) He added
that the agreement also established a framework for
cooperation on transnational crime, e.g., narcotics, bank
fraud, and the illegal transfer of small arms, as well as the
possible exchange of personnel.


¶3. (SBU) Imperial said the two Presidents also discussed
ways to reinforce religious moderation. President Arroyo
expressed support for Musharraf’s efforts to reform the
curriculum in Pakistan’s madrassah school system, noting the
parallels with madrassah schools in the southern Philippines.
According to Imperial, his government is also reviewing its
screening procedures for Filipinos studying in Pakistani
Islamic schools. He added that President Arroyo committed
the Philippines to hosting an international conference on
inter-faith dialogue, but did not fix a date.

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¶4. (SBU) The Pakistani-Philippine talks included discussion
of the Philippines’ bid for observer status in the
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Imperial noted
that when asked by a journalist about Pakistan’s stance on
Philippine OIC membership, Musharraf had said he supported
the bid, with the caveat that the OIC is “restructuring” at
the moment. Imperial said his government was encouraged by
Musharraf’s stance; while the backing was relative, it
reversed Pakistan’s previous position of outright opposition.
(Note. At the 30th OIC Foreign Ministers Conference in May
2003, Pakistan opposed the Philippines’ bid, stating that it
would set a precedent and open up admission to non-Islamic
countries — read India. End note.) Other agreements signed
in the course of the visit included memorandums on supply of
low-cost pharmaceuticals from Pakistan, mutual lifting of
visa requirements for diplomats, and promotion of cultural

——————————————— —

¶5. (U) Musharraf’s April 20 address to a joint session of
the Philippine Congress focused on the themes of
counterterrorism and good governance. The Pakistani
President expressed support for the GRP’s ongoing peace talks
with the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF),
saying, “Filipino Muslims must strive to be dynamic, vibrant,
progressive, and loyal part of the Philippines.” He put
forward his concept of “enlightened moderation,” in which
Islamic nations would do more to reject extremism and promote
socio-economic development, while Western countries
simultaneously worked to help resolve long-standing political
disputes in the Islamic World and assist developing countries
in their efforts towards “emancipation and development.”
¶6. (C) At an April 20 Foreign Correspondents of the
Philippines breakfast, Musharraf focused most of his remarks
on counterterrorism. He rejected the notion of a “clash of
civilizations,” noting that “the West is not engaged in a war
against Islam.” He emphasized the importance of military
force — “if the Islamists don’t want to live in peace, we
will eliminate them,” but also stressed the vital role
economic development and stability played in the fight
against terrorism. Addressing economic deprivation,
joblessness, poverty, and illiteracy could neutralize the
root causes of terrorism. Education is vital to this end,
Musharraf said, noting that the madrassah curriculum needs to
promote moderation and “real values of Islam,” and not
extremism. In off-the-record remarks, we are told Musharraf
warned that the Philippines must do more to counter the
extremist threat in Mindanao, or risk becoming the new front
line in the war against terror.


¶7. (C) Given that many Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leaders passed
through Pakistan on their way to al-Qaida camps in
Afghanistan and presence of many Filipino students in
Pakistani madrassahs, the enhanced intelligence cooperation
agreement is a welcome, but overdue initiative. Trade ties
between two countries are paltry (according to Department of
Trade statistics the Philippines exported $21 million worth
of goods to Pakistan in 2004, and imported $15 million), and
are likely to remain so, despite the pharmaceutical
agreement. Aside from the intelligence cooperation
agreement, the Musharraf visit might best be explained by a
quid pro quo. Pakistani backing for the Philippines’ bid for
observer status in the OIC, in return for future Philippine
support for a Pakistani effort to obtain observer status in
the East Asian Summit, for which India has already qualified.

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