Australian Warships to Visit Philippines

Friday, October 06, 2006
Two warships of the Royal Australian Navy are due to arrive in Manila on Friday for a weeklong joint training with their Philippine counterparts, said the Philippine Navy Thursday. The HMAS Newcastle and HMAS Darwin would join the training activities with the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard dubbed Maritime Training Activity Lumbas, according reports. Australian Customs Service would also take part in exercise which are composed mostly of shore-based training in Manila and would conclude with a combined sea passage. The exercise is not a full-blown joint military exercise due to the absence of a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the two countries.

The Philippine Department of National Defense is currently finalizing details of a proposed Status of Forces Agreement with Australia. If approved by the country's Congress, the agreement will allow large-scale exercises similar to those being conducted with United States troops who visit the Philippines on a regular basis. Source: Xinhua

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