PH, US foreign affairs, defense chiefs to meet in Washington in April

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 21) - The top foreign affairs and defense officials of the Philippines and the United States are scheduled to hold dialogues in Washington next month, according to the Filipino envoy to the US.

Ambassador Jose Manuel "Babe" Romualdez said in a forum on Monday that the 2+2 ministerial dialogue is expected to take place "in the middle of April," although the date is still being finalized.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and Defense Department officer-in-charge Carlito Galvez Jr., as well as their counterparts US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, have confirmed their attendance, the diplomat said.

He also noted that the two countries are expected to discuss developments of mutual concern that happened over the past few months, including the decision to expand American military presence in the Philippines by giving troops access to four new sites under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

Other areas of cooperation will also be tackled, including in the areas of economy, education, and energy.

"The United States is very much advanced in green energy or alternative energy," Romualdez said. "We are also very hopeful that some of that technology will be available to the Philippines, and the United States has indicated that they are prepared to share that with us."

Apart from the 2+2 talks, the envoy said some Philippine officials are also expected to fly to Washington next month for the meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

"A lot of activities here in Washington, D.C., and I think that all of these meetings that we are organizing here, specially for economic managers, will be very, very fruitful and something extremely substantial for the benefit of the Philippines," Romualdez said.