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Philippines Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo In D.C.

John D. Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State
Willard InterContinental Hotel
Washington, DC
June 23, 2008

PRESIDENT MACAPAGAL-ARROYO: We have just arrived in Washington. We have been in constant contact with Manila, a (inaudible) in the request to the recovery operations in the wake of the devastation left by Typhoon Frank. We are deeply saddened by the terrible loss of life, particularly the tragedy of the capsizing of the passenger ferry, Princess of the Stars.

We’ve just come from a call by Deputy State Secretary John Negroponte and the U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney. Our American friends are here to announce emergency aid and assistance to help (inaudible) in this hour of need. In the wake of this natural disaster, and recovery of the Princess of the Stars, more assistance is forthcoming as well. We’re deeply grateful for the response by the U.S. Government, including the U.S. Navy.

So we would like to introduce Secretary Negroponte and Ambassador Kenney to comment on this situation and the overall state of U.S.-Philippine relations. Thank you.

DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE: Thank you very much, Madame President. First of all, on behalf of Secretary Rice and President Bush, we certainly want to welcome you to Washington, and I know the President is looking forward to his meetings with you tomorrow.

And I also want to comment on the excellent state of relations between our two countries. We want to express our condolences to the government and the people of the Philippines, particularly the family members of those who have been affected by this tragedy. And I want to also confirm what the President said, which is that we have made a donation for the victims to the Philippine Red Cross and equally, or perhaps more important, the United States Navy is also sending a vessel to the scene of the accident, and we hope it should be there in a matter of hours. In addition, we have been talking with our naval authorities and they are looking at other ways which they might also be of assistance.

So again, I would just like to repeat, on behalf of the United States Government, that our hearts go out to the government and people of the Philippines, particularly the victims of this terrible tragedy which has just occurred.

PRESIDENT MACAPAGAL-ARROYO: Thank you. Thank you so much.

2008/518

ENDS

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