Pres. Aquino's meetings in NY with three ASEAN counterparts firmed up

September 18, 2010 6:13 am 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Sept. 17 — President Benigno S. Aquino III has firmed-up meetings with counterparts in three Southeast Asian countries at the sidelines of his debut appearance on September 24 at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which he will address for the first time as Philippine Head of State.

A meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is also certain.

The bilateral meetings are with Vietnamese President Nguyan Minh Triet, Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak and Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

It is also strongly possible that he will meet with more leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), who are in New York not only for the annual opening sessions of the UNGA but also for the 2nd ASEAN-US Leaders Dialogue hosted by US President Barack Obama.

The Philippines is the ASEAN’s Country Coordinator for the Dialogue until 2015, and Pres. Aquino will preside at the two-hour discussions with Obama attending.

Information released by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) do not indicate if Aquino is joining the Summit on the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) from September 20 to 22.

The DFA said the meetings “are expected to bolster bilateral ties between their countries and the Philippines, as well as reiterate support and commitment to specific areas of cooperation in the ASEAN region.”

Pres. Aquino has deferred a scheduled mid-September state visit to Hanoi, thus his meeting with President Minh will follow up on the agenda of that cancelled meeting.

The meeting with Malaysia’s Najib reinforces the important role of Malaysia as the long-time facilitator of peace negotiations between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and as the team leader of the International Monitoring Team in Mindanao.

With Secretary-General Ban, Pres. Aquino is expected to discuss the Philippine commitment and achievements to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), express support for the UN’s peacekeeping missions and its initiatives to implement the outcomes of the successful 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) last May, the DFA said.

Pres. Aquino will also thank the Secretary-General for his support to the Philippines’ interfaith initiatives for peace and development.

The 4th Philippine Progress Report on the MDGs, indicates that the Philippines is likely to meet the targets on food poverty, gender equality in education, child mortality, malaria morbidity, detection, treatment success and cure rates of tuberculosis cases, and access to sanitary toilet facilities, by deadline in 2015, the DFA said.

Other MDG targets include income poverty, nutrition, dietary energy requirement, access to safe drinking water, participation, cohort survival and completion rates in elementary education, maternal mortality, access to reproductive health services, and prevalence of HIV and AIDS. The DFA claimed that under the presidency of Ambassador Libran Cabactulan, the 2010 NPT Review Conference "achieved historic milestones leading to a nuclear-free world with the adoption of 64 points on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear weapons." (PNA)

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