Romulo suggests setting up of panel on policy directions

* Philippines-US meeting ————————

THE Philippines has proposed to the United States the formation of a consultative body to discuss future policy directions between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Roberto Romulo suggested this at a bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State Warren Christopher yesterday.

Elaborating on the Philippine proposal, Mr Romulo told The Straits Times later that the body would convene meetings periodically to foster greater economic and political co-operation between the two countries.

It would be represented by senior officials of both countries and would be similar to an arrangement the Philippines had with Japan, he said.

“We certainly have a unique relationship between the Philippines and the United States, and we are like-minded in many philosophies, and we would like to strengthen that,” he said during his meeting with the US Secretary of State.

Agreeing, Mr Christopher said that relations between the two were good despite the withdrawal of US troops from the Philippines last year.

He added that both countries shared security, political and economic interests. The Philippines and the US have a bilateral defence treaty.

President Bill Clinton, he said, looked forward to President Fidel Ramos’ visit to the United States at the end of the year.

The two foreign ministers also discussed the economic situation in the Philippines, particularly the energy shortage problem.

They reviewed the Multilateral Assistance Initiative, an international aid programme for the Philippines in which the US plays a leading role.

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