Oct 262014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/01/09MANILA128.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA128
2009-01-21 10:36
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO1270
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0128/01 0211036
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 211036Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2932
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000128

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/22/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL RP
SUBJECT: ARROYO CONGRATULATES PRESIDENT OBAMA, PRAISES “SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP” WITH THE U.S.

REF: A. MANILA 0012 (AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES POLITICAL
ISSUES WITH FOREIGN SECRETARY)
¶B. 07 MANILA 2488 (AMBASSADOR URGES RAPID
RESOLUTION TO MILITARY OPERATIONS)

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, reasons
1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a remarkable, heartfelt speech on the
morning of President Obama’s inauguration, President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo warmly welcomed the new American President
to the world stage, praising the “special relationship”
between the Philippines and the U.S. and recalling the deep
historical ties and unique cultural connections that bind the
two countries together. “There is no greater ally for the
Philippines than the United States,” Arroyo stated in her
laudatory remarks at the January 20 new year’s event for the
diplomatic corps in Manila, to an audience of senior
Philippine officials and members of Congress. Arroyo
outlined her administration’s achievements in 2008, including
having shielded the country from the brunt of the global
financial crisis, and her goals for 2009, most notably
restarting peace talks with Muslim insurgents. In a
follow-on private conversation, the Ambassador told President
Arroyo she was touched and honored by the remarks, which
symbolized an “extraordinary moment” between the two
countries. END SUMMARY.

ARROYO WELCOMES PRESIDENT OBAMA TO THE WORLD STAGE
——————————————— —–

¶2. (SBU) Demonstrating her warmth of feeling for the United
States and its new leader, President Arroyo dedicated several
minutes of a January 20 speech to praise the “special
relationship” between the Philippines and the U.S. “Our ties
run deep,” Arroyo said, noting that “over two and a half
million Americans are of Filipino descent,” and have shared
long histories that include fighting “side by side” in
conflicts since World War II. “We look forward to working
with the new President and we welcome him to the world
stage,” Arroyo continued, adding that “There is no greater
ally for the Philippines than the United States.” The
remarks, made at an event honoring the Manila diplomatic
corps in front of key Philippine Congressional leaders and
administration officials, highlighted Arroyo’s desire to
maintain a close relationship with the new U.S. President,
who, Arroyo noted, had “made clear” to her in conversations
both before and after the U.S. elections that such a special
relationship would continue “unabated.” In a follow-on
private conversation with Arroyo, the Ambassador said she was
touched and honored that Arroyo dedicated a portion of her
speech to the U.S.-Philippine relationship. She thanked
President Arroyo for her heartfelt remarks, agreeing that the
Philippines and the U.S. had an enduring, special friendship.
The Ambassador said that Arroyo’s congratulatory letter to
President Obama had been transmitted to Washington, as had
the congratulatory letter from Philippine Defense Secretary
Gilberto Teodoro to his counterpart, U.S. Defense Secretary
Robert Gates.

ARROYO SKETCHES 2008 SUCCESSES, 2009 AGENDA
——————————————-

¶3. (SBU) Arroyo took advantage of the assembly of ranking
Congressional leaders to tout her administration’s key
successes in 2008 and recent years, particularly its economic
successes, including avoiding the “full brunt” of the
economic downturn, managing the rice shortage, modernizing
the agricultural sector, improving and expanding
infrastructure, reducing human rights violations, and
improving healthcare and social programs, particularly for
the poor. Her focus for 2009, she said, will be upgraded
infrastructure, expanded social protections, and ensuring
sustainable growth during the global economic crisis. On
human rights, Arroyo said that the government would continue
its efforts against the killing of activists and journalists,
human trafficking, and the abuse of overseas Filipino
workers. Arroyo emphasized that the government would not be
“complacent” with its achievements, but would push to
accomplish more in the coming year.

COMMITTED TO PEACE PROCESS WITH MUSLIM REBELS
———————————————

¶4. (SBU) Arroyo also outlined her commitment to resuming
peace talks with Muslim insurgents, saying that 2009 would be
a “comeback year for peace.” She indicated that Philippine

MANILA 00000128 002 OF 002

government negotiators and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF) have been communicating to schedule the resumption of
talks, and she has instructed the government peace panel to
look at ceasefire-related issues and accelerated development
projects for Mindanao. To ensure all voices and perspectives
are included in this new phase of talks, the government will
utilize “authentic consultation,” a form of broad dialogue to
include input from other peace stakeholders in affected
communities and civil society. In its interaction with the
MILF, and to help that group transition away from militancy,
the government will employ disarmament, demobilization, and
reintegration as a new paradigm. Arroyo said the government
will continue to seek the involvement of international
partners in the peace process, like the Organisation of the
Islamic Conference, Europe, and the U.S., in addition to the
Malaysian facilitators and the three countries in the
International Monitoring Team, Brunei, Japan, and Libya.

¶5. (C) At a private January 15 breakfast with the Ambassador,
in a preview to Arroyo’s remarks, Presidential Peace Process
Adviser Hermogenes Esperon noted that the government was
back-channeling with the MILF and reaching out to Kuala
Lumpur to discuss ways to move forward. Realistically,
Esperon said, talks would not begin before April, giving the
Philippine government time to end the current fighting in
Mindanao, reframe Malaysia’s role as that of facilitator and
enabler rather than as a channel for negotiation, and explore
the creation of a two-part International Monitoring Team to
focus separately on security and economic issues. The
Ambassador cautioned Esperon that a quicker return to the
negotiating table could improve the security situation, and
suggested that the government not delay in resuming talks.

COMMENT
——-

¶6. (C) Arroyo’s comments at a major annual diplomatic event
— whose audience included leading members of the Philippine
House and Senate — could not have been a greater public
affirmation of U.S.-Philippine ties. Her mention of
President Obama’s inauguration was no accident; according to
a senior palace official, the overture to President Obama to
maintain the “special relationship” with the Philippines was
explicit and purposeful. As illustrated in Arroyo’s glowing
remarks, and as the U.S. has repeatedly demonstrated in the
Philippines through foreign assistance, military cooperation,
and special support during this country’s perennial natural
disasters, the U.S. remains the closest friend of the
Philippines, reinforced through our nations’ deep cultural
connections. As Arroyo enters her last 18 months in office,
our bilateral relationship is poised to continue its positive
development.

KENNEY

   

 

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