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US crucial to Philippine development: Arroyo
Updated: 2009-07-31 05:40

WASHINGTON: Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo says the United States provides essential help for the former US colony's advancement in economic, diplomatic and national security.

Her host in the White House, President Barack Obama, says Arroyo has initiated a peace process in Mindanao "that we think has the potential to bring peace and stability to a part of the Philippines that has been wracked by unrest for too long."

The two leaders spoke Thursday after a 45-minute meeting in the Oval Office.

Speaking about US support, Arroyo praised what she called the "soft power" of the United States, building roads, bridges and schools in Mindanao and other Philippine areas as well.