MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has offered to send troops to Jordan to help combat Islamist militants, after agreeing to deepen military cooperation with the Middle Eastern nation to fight extremism.
Both countries have been battling Islamic State’s influence, with Jordan playing a key role in an international coalition, and the Philippines on alert after a five-month occupation of a city by Islamist rebels – its worst conflict since World War Two.
“If there is anything that we can do, if you are short in your army, let me know,” Duterte said on Thursday at a business forum in Amman in a comment to King Abdullah, who earlier lamented the “evil” both states were facing.
“You need one battalion… I will send them to you. I will commit my government in the right side of history.”
King Abdullah is an important Middle East ally of Western powers, with Jordan playing a prominent role in the US-led coalition against Islamic State, providing military, logistical and intelligence support.
Earlier this year, Jordan announced it will provide the Philippines with two Cobra attack helicopters to help fight insurgents.
Duterte is on a six-day visit to Jordan and Israel, and his activities have been broadcast in the Philippines. He has signed agreements with Israeli companies to buy small arms, armored vehicles, and surveillance and reconnaissance equipment.
Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Martin Petty and Christopher Cushing.