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Ambassadors to Belgium, Pakistan present credentials

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, March 29 —The newly-accredited Philippine ambassador to Brussels has relayed to the Belgian King Manila’s support of Brussels when the latter assumes the Presidency of the European Union in the second half of the year, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said today.

The new ambassador, former DFA Undersecretary for Policy Enrique A. Manalo, also conveyed the best wishes of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with King Albert II at the Royal Laeken Castle in Brussels after presenting his credentials on March 17.

They also talked about the plans of the Philippines for the forthcoming Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Brussels in October 2010, as well as recalled memories of the Belgian monarch’s visit to Manila in the 1980’s when he was still Crown Prince.

Manalo’s presentation of his credentials to Belgium and that of former Assistant Secretary of the Office of Legal Affairs Jesus I. Yabes to Pakistan were announced belatedly today by the DFA.

Yabes presented his accreditation to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Feb. 22 at the Aiwan-e-Sadr (Presidency) in Islamabad.

Both Manalo and Yabes are career diplomats.

DFA said that the Belgian king expressed his support for strengthening the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Belgium.

They discussed the embassy’s plans to enhance Philippines-Belgium ties especially in trade, investment, cultural promotion and people-to-people contacts.

The King also recalled his visit to Manila in the 1980s when he was still the Crown Prince, and his contribution towards the realization of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system. Manalo told the King that the LRT has become an integral part of Manila’s transport system.

Ambassador Yabes had a brief conversation with President Zardari during which the latter acknowledged the excellent state of relations between the Philippines and Pakistan.

DFA said Yabes pledged to work for the enhancement of the bilateral relations.

At the end of the meeting, Zardari presented Yabes with the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's book, “Reconciliation.” Zardari is Bhutto’s widower.

Manalo served as Undersecretary for Policy (2007-2010) before his posting to Belgium. He also served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in Geneva (2003-2007). He was Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York (2000-2003) and Assistant Secretary, Office of European Affairs (1998-2000), among others.

Yabes served as Assistant Secretary of the Office of Legal Affairs prior to his posting. He was also Assistant Secretary of the Office of Middle East and African Affairs (2008), Philippine Consul General to Shanghai (2002-2007), Philippine Ambassador to Singapore (1992-2002); Deputy Chief of Mission, Minister and Consul General to Tokyo (1996-1999), among others. (PNA)

RMA/GJB

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