RP-U.S. RELATIONS NOW A PARTNERSHIP OF EQUALS - GMAWashington, 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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