GMA Congratulates Bush; Looks Forward to Stronger Relations with US

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Arroyo lauds shared vision for peace

MANILA (DPA) Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Thursday congratulated incumbent United States President George W. Bush for winning a fresh mandate.

Arroyo pledged to continue supporting Bushs campaign for global security.

"I congratulate President Bush for his victory and Senator John Kerry for a fight well fought," she said in a statement.

"Our shared political vision encompasses not only blood shed in war, but energies put forth to win the peace in many parts of the world.

"We stand forthwith behind America in defending the ramparts of freedom, collective security and the rule of law everywhere.

"I am confident President Bush will unite America behind these principles."

Arroyo is a staunch ally of Bush in the fight against terrorism, but relations turned sour in July when she ordered Philippine troops to pull out from Iraq to save an abducted Filipino truck driver from being executed by Iraqi militants.

GMA rejoices at Bush win

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday rejoiced at the reelection of US President George W. Bush, saying shes looking forward to a stronger partnership with Washington during the latters second four-year term.

The President, who earlier kept mum on whom she prefers to win in the US presidential race, also pledged to cooperate closely with the US in its campaign in global security and protection of democracies worldwide.

"On behalf of the Philippine government and the Filipino people, I wish to extend to you my warmest congratulations on your reelection as President of the United States of America," she said in a letter to Bush.

"Your reelection comes at an important juncture when American leadership and international solidarity must be put at the service of securing greater global peace, security and prosperity."

Arroyo delivered her congratulatory message through US Ambassador to Manila Francis Joseph Ricciardone during a meeting in Malacanang.

Arroyo and Bush are expected to meet in the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) summit in Chile later this month, their first meeting since the spat over the pullout of a Philippine contingent from Iraq last July.

Ricciardone assured that Bush has no ill-feelings toward Arroyo, saying the American leader actually foresees revitalized RP-US relations in the coming years.

"The Philippines and the United States must remain strong partners in the global war on terror and steadfast allies in protecting freedom. The bonds between our nations are both resilient and dynamic and we have made significant headway in securing our peoples from the grave menace of terrorism," Arroyo said. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)

A boost to RP-US relations

Senate President Franklin Drilon yesterday expressed confidence that the victory of US President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in last Tuesdays elections would trigger a fresh start for an improved bilateral relations between the Philippines and the United States.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr., however, said he sees no marked change in Philippine-US relations with the reelection of Bush.

Pimentel said President Arroyo should "exhaust all means to mend fences with Mr. Bush (as the former cordial RP-US relations had been breached when she ordered the pullout of our troops in Iraq) but it remains to be seen whether the US President will reciprocate her overtures."

Drilon said he hoped Bush would have on top of his agenda the attainment of peace in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq, Israel and Palestine.

"The continued conflict in Middle East causes security problems worldwide and has an adverse effect on the world economy, particularly in the Philippines whose economy is vulnerable to continued increases in the prices of oil products. …