Philippine, French leaders to discuss "terrorism": Spokesman

Philippine, French leaders to discuss "terrorism": Spokesman
French President Francois Hollande

French President Francois Hollande will discuss international terrorism when he meets his Philippine counterpart Benigno Aquino this week, a spokesman said Sunday.

The French leader's state visit from Thursday-Friday will focus on climate change but the recent attacks in Paris have also brought security to the forefront, said Aquino spokesman Herminio Coloma.

"The two leaders will also exchange views on global and regional issues like terrorism such as what happened involving Charlie Hebdo in Paris that claimed the lives of 20 people," he told reporters. A series of attacks by three Islamist gunmen between January 7-9 in and near Paris began with shootings at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper.

Coloma did not elaborate on how the two nations would take up the issue. The largely Roman Catholic Philippines has been the longtime target of local Muslim extremist attacks, especially in the south where the Muslim minority is based.

The Abu Sayyaf, a loose band of a few hundred militants in the south founded with seed money from Al-Qaeda, has been blamed for some of the worst terror attacks in Philippine history.

Coloma said Hollande would use his visit to drum up support for action to curb global warming before the 21st UN Conference of the Parties on Climate Change in Paris in December. The French leader will bring two Oscar-winning actors, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons, to the Philippines as part of the campaign.

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