Subject: GMA, Ramos-Horta meet in Malacaņang, renew bilateral ties

GMA, Ramos-Horta meet in Malacaņang, renew bilateral ties

Manila Bulletin

Sunday, January 18, 2009


President Arroyo and Timor Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta have agreed to bolster bilateral cooperation on education and professional training as well as marine and fisheries resources during a closeddoor meeting at Bahay Pangarap in Malacaņang Park last Friday.

The two leaders held the meeting to renew bilateral relations.

The visiting Nobel Peace laureate arrived in the country last Wednesday for a series of speaking engagements on peace and freedom and will stay until tomorrow.

Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Lorelei Fajardo said President Arroyo and the Timorese leader agreed to enhance academic cooperation, particularly in allowing more Timorese to study in the Philippines.

Fajardo said the President directed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to grant visas which are valid up to four years to Timorese students planning to enrol in local schools and colleges.

She noted that RamosHorta was impressed by the high quality of education in Philippines institutions at a relatively lower cost compared to other schools in the United States and Europe.

Fajardo said the President urged the Timorese leader to encourage his countrymen to undergo diplomat training and development at the Foreign Service Institute.

Also during the meeting, Fajardo said the President ordered Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap to embark on a trade mission in Dili, East Timor on Feb. 22 to explore possible areas of cooperation in food security.

The investment mission was part of the earlier agreement signed by the two countries to promote cooperation on sustainable development and responsible management of fisheries.

Fajardo said the President thanked Ramos-Horta for supporting the bid of Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago in the race for the world court judge last year. Miriam failed to win the coveted position.

Fajardo added Malacaņang welcomes the offer of Ramos-Horta to help the government revive the stalled peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The last time RamosHorta visited Manlia was August 2008. Upon the invitation of President Arroyo, he made a four-day state visit in the country, six months after an attempt on his life.

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