RP, Romania back each other at UN
- Marichu A. Villanueva () - February 20, 2002 - 12:00am
Romania and the Philippines will support each other’s bid for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.

Speaking at a reception for visiting Romanian Pre-sident Ion Iliescu Monday night, President Arroyo said she and Iliescu have agreed to support the Philippines’ and Romania’s respective bids for Security Council seats.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Lauro Baja said South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East are each entitled to a non-permanent seat in the Security Council, which under the UN Charter must have regional representation.

The Philippine bid for a Security Council seat has already been endorsed by the 10 countries comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), he added.

Mrs. Arroyo said she is now seizing the opportunity for the Philippines to regain its former stature before the UN Security Council.

Iliescu said the Philippines and Romania could become non-permanent members of the Security Council in 2004 and 2005 through each other’s support.

"We shall sustain reciprocally our candidature for the non-permanent (seats) in the UN Security Council," he said. "I think we will have a good platform of political understanding in all issues of today while cooperating in very good conditions in international bodies."

During yesterday’s joint press conference at Malacañang, Iliescu said Mrs. Arroyo had accepted his invitation for her to visit Romania next year.

"For your information, we have sent invitations to Her Excellency to come to Romania next year," he said.

Baja said the last time the Philippines sat at the Security Council was in 1955 when the late Foreign Affairs Secretary Carlos Romulo became president of the UN General Assembly.

"So we are trying to get the larger endorsement of the Asian group," he said.

Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr., who is also foreign affairs secretary, said the desire of the Philippines to have a seat in the Security Council was "not necessarily connected" with the country’s all-out support for the US-led campaign against international terrorism.

"But it’s about time that in world affairs, the Philippines deserves a position where we could expand our relations all over the world," he said.

"We have about eight million overseas Filipino workers and we’re practically in every country around the world even up to the North Pole. So why should we not sit in the UN Security Council?" Guingona asked.

The Philippines is a charter member of the UN and helped organize the world body in San Francisco, California at the end of World War II in 1945.

After closed-door talks at the Palace State Dining Hall, Mrs. Arroyo and Iliescu witnessed the signing of a memorandum of agreement between Agriculture Secretary Leonardo Montemayor and Romanian Agriculture, Food and Forest Minister Ilie Sarbu.

Mrs. Arroyo and Iliescu also oversaw the signing of a memorandum of agreement for closer cooperation between the Philippines and Romania on agriculture, science and technology.

Mrs. Arroyo said they discussed energy security, information technology and possible participation by Romania in the rehabilitation of the Philippine National Railways.

"We exchanged views on political and economic developments in our two countries, having in mind the common challenges faced by our two nations," she said.

Mrs. Arroyo said she was hopeful that two sides could sign another accord for cooperation between their trade agencies after Iliescu and a delegation of Romanian businessmen meet Filipino entrepreneurs.

Last night, Mrs. Arroyo hosted a state banquet for Iliescu and his delegation.

As Mrs. Arroyo conferred on Iliescu the Order of Sikatuna, he conferred on her the Star of Romania, his country’s highest state award.

Also present at the ceremonies were Guingona, Baja, Trade and Industry Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Transportation and Communications Secretary Pantaleon Alvarez, Energy Secretary Vicente Perez, Sen. Blas Ople, chairman of the Senate committee on foreign relations, and Negros Occidental Rep. Apolinario Lozada Jr., chairman of the House committee on foreign relations.

Before flying to Singapore today, Iliescu will meet Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. and other top government officials.

Iliescu arrived in Manila for a three-day visit at around 11 p.m. Monday with several Cabinet ministers and a 47-member business delegation.

ARROYO COUNCIL ILIESCU MRS MRS. ARROYO MRS. ARROYO AND ILIESCU PHILIPPINES ROMANIA SECURITY SECURITY COUNCIL
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