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PIA Press Release

PGMA cites fruitful bilateral meeting between RP and Australia

Manila (10 October) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has expressed her elation over the fruitful bilateral meeting held between the Philippines and Australian governments as she warmly welcomed Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith and Trade Minister Simon Crean in Malacanang.

"Welcome to the Philippines. I am happy to see all of you here. I understand our two nations had a very fruitful bilateral meeting," the President told Ministers Smith and Crean.

During the courtesy call held at the Malacanang's Music Room, the President asked Smith and Crean to convey her warmest greetings to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

"Please send my regards to Prime Minister Rudd. We'll see each other at the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Conference) in Peru in November," she said.

Smith and Crean expressed appreciation for the warm reception given them by the President and for granting their request to meet her.

They were accompanied by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Hermogenes Esperon, Ambassador Rod Smith, Titon Mitra, Minister Counsellor William Bill Paterson, ambassador for counter-terrorism, and Richard Moore, AusAid deputy director general.

The two Aussie ministers came to Manila to attend the 2nd Philippines-Australia Ministerial Meeting (PAMM) held at the Hotel Sofitel in Pasay City.

Part of their visit here was to attend the trade and investment meeting hosted by the Australia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce and Philippines-Australia Business Council which was also held at the Sofitel Hotel.

During a visit to the Baseco Elementary School in Port Area, Manila this morning, Smith announced that the Australian government will give $13 million for education for Muslim and indigenous girls and boys in the Philippines.

Australia is a long-standing development partner of the Philippines and one of the country's largest bilateral grant aid donors. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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