Cooperation between Asean, Portugal seen

Jun. 05, 2007

MANILA — Malacanang said today that hopefully, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos two-day visit to Lisbon would blaze the trail for cooperation between Portugal and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), as well as promote Philippine-Portugal bilateral relations.

The President arrived in Lisbon at 10 oclock last night (Manila time) from Rome, where she attended the canonization of Blessed Marie Eugenie, foundress of the Religious Assumption, and three other new saints.

Another highlight of the Presidents trip to Rome, the citadel of world Catholicism, was her private audience with Pope Benedict XVI who conveyed his blessings to the Filipino people and the Philippines, the third largest Catholic country in the world and the biggest in Asia.

In a statement this morning, Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye said hopefully, the Presidents visit to Portugal will “set the stage for Aseans cooperation with that nation as the incoming President of the European Union, the promotion of Philippine-Portugal bilateral relations, increased trade opportunities for Philippine products and increased investments from Portuguese companies.”

The Philippines chairs Asean this year, while Portugal will assume the presidency of the 25-member European Union this year. Portugal was one of the 12 original members of the European Community (EC).

As Asean chair, the President has spearheaded the move for closer relations between members of the regional grouping and other countries, especially in economic, environmental protection, human rights and security matters.

Early this afternoon (Manila time), the President was scheduled to meet with top Portuguese officials, including Portugals Assembly President Jaime Gama and Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva. (OPS) (

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