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Friday, 01 May 2009 22:16
PGMA's Syrian state visit to focus on peace and business Manila (PND) - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo embarks on a mission of peace and search for new business and investment opportunities for the country during her scheduled state visit to Syria on May 3 and 4. Syria is among the newest strategic partners of the Philippines in the Middle East. The Philippine Embassy in Damascus was officially inaugurated only last April 13 this year, following its upgrade from its former consular office status. It now serves the estimated 17,000 Filipinos working in Syria. The former Philippine consulate in Damascus used to serve as transit point for Filipinos in times of crisis in the Middle East. It served as an exit point for thousands of Filipino workers fleeing the war in Lebanon in 2006. Aside from being one of the supporters of the country’s peace and development initiatives, Syria is a crucial player in the Middle East on account of its energy resources and fertile lands. It is a key player and a major participant in the struggle for peace and security in the region. Before going to Syria, President Arroyo will first have a working visit in Egypt on May 2-3. She will leave Cairo on May 3 and proceed to Damascus for her state visit upon the invitation of the Syrian government. The President is scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting and sign partnership and cooperation agreements with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who will tender a state dinner in her honor. The Chief Executive is also scheduled to address the People’s Assembly of Syria and hold meetings with leading Syrian business leaders and prospective investors. President Arroyo will likewise visit one of the biggest container terminals in the Middle East operated by the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) before heading back to Manila on May 5. # # #
 

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