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article imageTerrorism High in Agenda during Obama-Arroyo Meeting Special

By Ronel Pelovello     Jul 13, 2009 in Politics
House Speaker Prospero Nograles on Monday said the agenda of the bilateral meeting between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and US President Barrack Obama would include RP-US cooperation in addressing terrorism in Mindanao.
The White House announcement that Obama would meet with President Arroyo was preceded by a brief visit to the Philippines of Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta.
In an interview, Nograles said that while the main agenda in the talks between Mrs. Arroyo and Obama would center on the economic ties between RP and US, security cooperation in Mindanao would also be high on the list.
“I think that the main agenda would be the economy, and the aid that the Americans are giving to us,” said Nograles, as he noted that US is the number one trading partner of the Philippines.
“I think they would also talk about the Mindanao problem (on terrorism), and security. That is timely because of what happened in Mindanao recently, the bombings and kidnappings,” Nograles said.
Last week, at least 50 people were killed in a wave of bombing attacks in various places in Mindanao, suspected to have been perpetrated by groups linked to the Al-Qaeda terrorist group of Osama Bin Laden.
On July 12, the dreaded Abu Sayyaf Group freed Italian Eugenio Vagni after 178 days in captivity. Vagni was the last hostage freed from among three volunteers of the International Committee of the Red Cross the ASG had kidnapped.
“These things are very important because we now need more hi-tech equipment of America in order to fight terrorism. And of course the Americans are also concerned because they don’t want the country, especially Mindanao to be the breeding ground of terrorists,” Nograles said.
Malacanang has confirmed that the issue of terrorism is high in the agenda of the talks between the two leaders.
In a radio interview, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said Pres. Arroyo and Pres. Obama will likely discuss, among others, global issues on terrorism.
Remonde noted that President Arroyo has been a strong partner of the international community in the war against terrorism, particularly since the 9/11 terror attacks on US soil.
Apart from terrorism, Remonde said the two leaders will also talk about the issue of climate change, as well as Mrs. Arroyo’s programs on poverty alleviation and economic resiliency.
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