RP-U.S. RELATIONS NOW A PARTNERSHIP OF EQUALS - GMA

Washington, May 21, 2003  - From diplomacy of dependency to a partnership 
between equals.

This was how President Gloria Arroyo described the maturing relations 
between the United States and the Philippines during her bilateral meeting 
with US President George W. Bush.

"I did not come here to be a mendicant or a mercenary," Pres. Arroyo said 
as she refused to quantify the success of her state visit here, based on 
how much economic aid and military assistance her country would get from 
the United States.

Instead, he said she came to the US to discuss with Pres. Bush her ideas 
for a stronger partnership between the two countries, particularly in the 
fight against poverty and terrorism.

"Poverty and terrorism are twin evils we must fight. For the Philippines, 
we consider the US a strategic partner not only in security matters, but 
also in the economy, in the fight against poverty," she said.

Pres. Bush also recognized the importance of keeping the Philippines as an 
ally in the global fight against terrorism, and the need to maintain the 
partnership of the two countries to win this war.

For this reason, Bush said his administration is looking forward to the 
continued cooperation between Philippines and the United States, especially 
in addressing terrorism.

"We've got a lot of work to do, which means we've got to continue to work 
together to share information, cut off money, share intelligence, and hunt 
these people down and get them," he said.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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