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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 10, 1998
                             APRIL 10, 1998

President Clinton met today with Philippine President Ramos. They had a brief private exchange in the Oval Office; this was followed by a working lunch. Ramos' visit to the White House follows the President's state visit to Manila in 1994. The visit coincides with this year's celebration of the centennial anniversary of the Philippines declaration of independence from Spain.

President Ramos also met with other senior U.S. government officials, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the American private sector, both here and in New York.

President Ramos will leave a legacy of strengthened democratic institutions and significant economic reform when he leaves office in June 1998.

Market-based economic reforms have helped the Philippines better withstand the effects of the current financial crisis in East Asia. The two Presidents discussed the Asian economic crisis, welcoming Indonesia's agreement this week with the International Monetary Fund. The United States and the Philippines will continue to work together with other countries in the region to relieve the hardship their people may be experiencing because of the financial turmoil.

The President and President Ramos discussed regional security issues including Cambodia, Burma and the ASEAN Regional Forum.

The President expressed appreciation for the role the Philippines has played in the ASEAN troika's efforts to restore democracy in Cambodia. We are hopeful the amnesty for Prince Ranariddh and his recent return to Cambodia will help create the conditions needed to conduct free and fair elections in July.

The Philippine government has also expressed its public support for Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, sending an important signal to the Burmese military that it must begin a political dialogue with Burma's opposition.

The President thanked President Ramos for his active role in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and his support for accelerated trade and investment liberalization. The President stressed the importance of implementing early sectoral liberalization, noting that increased trade flows would be important to restoring the economic health of the region.

Luncheon Participants:

U.S. Participants Philippine Participants

    The President              President Ramos
    Stanley Roth               Domingo Siazon, Secretary
    Robert Rubin                  of Foreign Affairs
    Strobe Talbott             Fortunato Abat, Secretary
    Samuel Berger                 of National Defense
    Gene Sperling              Cesar Bautista, Secretary
    Thomas Hubbard,               of Trade and Industry
       U.S. Ambassador         Hector Villanueva, Secretary
    James Steinberg               of Press
    Sandy Kristoff,            Raul Rabe, Ambassador to the
       NSC Notetaker              U.S.
                               Gabriel Singson, Central Bank
                               Governor Benjamin De Leon, 
                                  Presidential Assistant on 
                                  Foreign Affairs and Appointments
                               Clemencio Montesa, Department
                                  of Foreign Affairs