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US ambassador meets Philippine president-elect, promises close cooperation

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The U.S. ambassador pledged Friday to work closely with Philippine president-apparent Benigno Aquino III at their first meeting since the May 10 elections.

Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. said the polls reflected the will of the Filipino people although "there were some bumps and bruises, but that is to be expected in any country. We have that in the United States."

The Philippines is a long-time U.S. ally. The countries have a bilateral defense treaty, and American counterterrorism training in southern Philippines has been credited with helping Filipino troops make gains against Muslim militants in the predominantly Christian nation.

Asked if President Barack Obama had a message for Aquino, Thomas said the U.S. would like to respect the country's electoral process and wait for the Philippines' Congress to formally proclaim election results.

Aquino said they talked about the status of bilateral ties and areas of concern. He did not elaborate.

The son of the country's democracy icons is set to be sworn in June 30 after the election in which automated vote-counting machines were used for the first time, leading to some glitches.