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Arroyo cancels US trip over ‘pressing matters’–Palace exec

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 13:54:00 09/04/2008

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cancelled her trip to the United States in late September to concentrate on “pressing matters” at home, including the Mindanao conflict, Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said Thursday.

Arroyo was scheduled to attend the 63rd United Nations General Assembly in New York and a forum hosted by former US President Bill Clinton, her Georgetown University classmate.

“She decided to attend to pressing matters at home. Maybe, the President does not want to leave at a time when a new paradigm in the peace process in Mindanao is being set up,” Dureza told radio station dwIZ.

Dureza said the President also wanted to follow up on priority government projects.

Arroyo has dissolved the government’s peace negotiating panel with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and ordered a review of all peace initiatives as she shifted the focus of peace negotiations from armed groups to civilian communities.

The move came after MILF fighters raided civilian communities in Central Mindanao, and after the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order against the signing of a key agreement between government and MILF peace negotiators that would have paved the way for the expansion of the Muslim autonomous region in the south.

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2008-09-04T14:12:06+00:00UTC09bUTCThu, 04 Sep 2008 14:12:06 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm09

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