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Arroyo-McCain meeting tackles 'hard, soft' approach to Mindanao - Palace

June 29, 2008 6:23pm

MANILA, Philippines - After a meeting with Democrat presidential bet Barack Obama failed to materialize, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo met with Republican White House hopeful John McCain before she returned to Manila.

Mrs Arroyo said she and McCain also discussed US support in the achievement of peace in Mindanao, including the "hard and soft" approach.

A Palace statement Sunday afternoon said that during the meeting at the Willard Hotel in Washington D.C., she thanked McCain for supporting the Veterans Equity bill.

She also asked the US to lead the efforts in addressing food security concerns.

During the meeting midnight Saturday (noon in Washington), she told McCain that Filipinos will be watching the US presidential polls.

She told McCain that Manila is hoping that the new US administration would “continue the relations of the US and the Philippines."

The Palace statement said the two also agreed to further strengthen the long-standing bilateral relations of the Philippines and the United States.

It said the two "exchanged pleasantries and discussed RP-US relations" during their meeting.

"I would like to thank President Arroyo for taking time out to meet me," McCain said, adding he "looks forward to further affirming" RP-US relations.

Presidential aide Marciano Paynor Jr. insisted the meeting was "quite normal in the overall scheme of bilateral relations." - GMANews.TV
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