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Periscoping The Obama-Arroyo Summit

July 30, 2009

barack gloria presscon montage

As the hour draws near (3:00 a.m. July 31 Philippine time) for the summit talks of President Barack Obama and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo details are starting to trickle in about just what they will talk about.

Mrs. Arroyo told reporters before board her plane yesterday she expects them to focus on security concerns: terrorism — how to meet it, how to end it, how to address its roots in historical injustice or religious prejudice.

The Obama-Arroyo Oval Office meeting is slated to last 45 minutes, about the same length of Mrs. Arroyo’s meeting last month with US Central Intelligence Agency boss Leon Panetta.

Here’s the US State Department’s characterization of the summit:

It’s a working visit but it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be pleasant. They have a lot to talk about – climate change, the economy, trade, progress in Burma (Myanmar), and promoting non-proliferation particularly with regard to North Korea. But there is no formal agenda. They will decide what to talk about. It’s also an opportunity to talk about the legacy that President Arroyo will leave with one more year in office. This is an opportunity to highlight the importance and the value of this relationship.
– US State Department official

(speaking to Philippine Daily Inquirer on background)

Beyond the video and images that will issue after the meeting observers will closely sift through the polite diplomatic language from both, including what the two leaders will say if they hold a post summit news conference which summiteers normally give as their emerge from their one-on-ones.

Surely no ‘uncivil lecturing’ will be done by either leader who presumably stand on equal footing.

But read between the lines of this phrase from the US State Department official:

“an opportunity to talk about the legacy that President Arroyo will leave with one more year in office.”

Surely a direct disclosure  that Pres. Obama expects his Filipino guest not to extend her term.

Of this there is no doubt.

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