Secretary del Rosario receives call from U.S. Secretary of State Clinton

Official portrait of Secretary of State Hillar...Image via WikipediaA March 14, 2011 press release by the Department of Foreign Affairs

Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. del Rosario received a telephone call Sunday from United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and extended her congratulations to the newly-appointed Cabinet member, as well as discussed issues of mutual interest between the Philippines and the United States.

The two Secretaries shared the view that the Philippine-U.S. Strategic Dialogue, a platform for regular and sustained dialogue between the two countries, would raise their partnership to the next higher level. The first strategic dialogue was held last January 27 to 28 in Manila.

They also discussed the regional architecture mechanisms in the Asia-Pacific region, notably the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the East Asia Summit (EAS).

Secretary Del Rosario welcomed the participation of the U.S. and the Russian Federation as new members of the EAS and expressed the hope that ASEAN will continue to play a central role in the EAS, which is a crucial building bloc in the evolving regional architecture.

He added that the expansion of the EAS is a positive development, and the Philippines looks forward to working with the U.S. to ensure that the EAS is a strategic and Leaders-led forum.

President Barack Obama will join the 6th East Asia Summit in Indonesia in October this year, where the U.S. will participate as a full member for the first time.

Both foreign secretaries also underscored the need to ensure maritime security in the Asia-Pacific and agreed that a way forward is the conclusion of a binding regional code of conduct in the South China Sea.

Secretary Del Rosario said that it is in the best interest of the region to transform this potential flashpoint into a Zone of Peace, Friendship and Coperation through sustained consultation and dialogue.

During the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in Lombok, Indonesia last January 16, there was an agreement about a greater sense of urgency in finalizing the guidelines of the 2002 Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

Secretary Clinton also raised the subject of the Philippines’ efforts to bring its nationals out of Libya, given the Department of Foreign Affairs’ accelerated repatriation of Filipinos from that country.

In closing the telephone conversation, both Secretary Del Rosario and Secretary Clinton expressed their desire for an early meeting so that they could work more closely in advancing the common interests of the Philippines and the United States.