Filipino Official Says Troops to Be Pulled
Ugh! What else can I say? This is nauseating - I think I'm going to be sick.
A senior Philippines official has said his troops will leave Iraq "as soon as possible", as a deadline nears for the beheading of a Filipino hostage.What would really surprise me is if these "militants" actually pay any attention to this offer, and thereby deprive themselves of the sadistic pleasure of beheading their captive for the benefit of worldwide television. I'll bet anything that we'll learn tomorrow that the poor man's been murdered anyway.
Militants holding truck driver Angelo de la Cruz since Wednesday say they will kill him if the Philippines does not speed up its planned withdrawal.
Manila's forces are due to leave by 20 August, but the militants have demanded their departure by 20 July.
But the deputy foreign secretary did not say how soon the troops would go.
Rafael Seguis said only that they would leave "swiftly, in the time it takes to carry out the necessary preparation for their return to the Philippines," in remarks to the al-Jazeera television channel.
"I hope the statement that I read will touch the heart of this group," said Mr Seguis, who is visiting Baghdad.
Filipino President Gloria Arroyo's government had rejected the captors' demands to remove their troops from Iraq by Sunday evening.