Sunday, March 19, 2006

Ambassador Kenney assumes Manila post

The first female US ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Anne Kenney arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport late Friday night and immediately said that her first order of business would be a meeting with President Arroyo in MalacaƱan.

On her arrival at the NAIA, Kenney held a very brief impromptu news conference where she said she was looking forward to presenting her credentials to Mrs. Arroyo next week.

Kenney also expressed elation upon seeing media people who greeted her at the airport along with US Embassy officials.

"I’m absolutely thrilled to be here. This is one of the most special countries for the United States. We have such a long relationship and we feel very close as people," Kenney said.

She said that she could not wait to see the country and to meet Filipinos from all walks of life.

"Of course my first conversations will be official ones when I present my credentials to the President and her government. But after that, I look forward to hearing from all of you early and often. So, I hope you’ll be kind and generous and tell me everything I need to know," Kenney told her welcoming party.

She parted by saying, "Salamat po!" to the delight of newsmen and US Embassy officials.

Kenney was formally sworn in by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on March 6.

She was a senior member of the US Foreign Service, and served as the US ambassador to the Republic of Ecuador from September 2002 to July 2005.

As US ambassador to Ecuador, she supervised nearly 500 US government employees and managed an assistance budget of more than $70 million.

Before that, she spent nine months as senior adviser to the Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. She also held other important positions at the US State Department.

Jonathan Vicente

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