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Philippine Troops To Stay In Iraq Despite Hostage Plea

10 July 2004 -- The Philippine government says it will withdraw its small peacekeeping contingent in Iraq when its current stint ends in six weeks, despite threats to kill a Filipino hostage.

But the president's spokesman, Ignacio Bune, made no definitive statement today about whether the 51 peacekeepers will be replaced.

Insurgents abducted a Filipino truck driver near Al-Fallujah on 7 July and said they would execute him by the end of today unless the Philippine government withdraws its troops.

In a further development today, the Arabic television station Al-Jazeera showed a video in which the Filipino hostage appealed to his country to give in to the insurgents' demands.