MANILA, Philippine?US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to visit the Philippines next week for talks with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as part of a swing through some Asian countries prior to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Singapore, a source told the Inquirer on Friday.
Clinton will arrive on November 12 and fly out within the next 24 hours or less on her way to the November 19 APEC summit, said the source that is familiar with arrangements for the visit.
She is scheduled to hold closed-door talks with President Arroyo and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo.
?The discussions will be freewheeling,? said the source, who added that the talks between Clinton and Ms. Arroyo would ?set the stage? for the President?s own talks with US President Barack Obama in Singapore.
The talks, the source said, could touch on next year?s Philippine elections, the transfer of power in 2010, aid to the country, the country?s compliance with the Millenium Development Goals and global terrorism.
?Most likely, Secretary Clinton will reiterate the US? position on clean elections and the smooth transition after the 2010 elections,? the source said.
Clinton?s sidetrip to Manila comes on the heels of the visits to the country of US Senator Bill Nelson in August, US Central Intelligence Agency chief Leon Panetta in July and US Defense Secretary Robert Gates in June.
Washington considers Manila a vital ally in the war against terrorism as well as regional security.
The last time Clinton was in the country was in 1996 when as US first dady, she accompanied her husband to the APEC Summit held in Subic.
Obama will be taking center stage in the Singapore APEC meeting together with China?s Premier Hu Jintao. Up for discussion is the role of APEC in globalization amid the economic crisis and dealing with economic protectionism among member-countries.