MANILA, Philippines - Russia is now laying the groundwork for President Duterte’s visit to Moscow next month by identifying possible areas of cooperation, Russian Ambassador Igor Anatolyevich Khovaev said yesterday.
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The envoy, however, said Russia would not send military troops to the Philippines nor is it seeking a military alliance with the country.
“We are now preparing for the historic visit of President Duterte in May,” Khovaev said in a message yesterday in a meeting of the Philippine Russian Business Assembly.
Duterte said he would be visiting Russia on May 25.
Khovaev said Russia is ready to help the Philippines in many areas, including security, through the provision of arms, as well as joint military exercises.
“The two countries have to deal with specific threats such as terrorism, extremism, piracy, illegal drug trafficking so it is natural to combine efforts. No nation is able to cope with these challenges on its own. That is why we are ready to share our experience, arms, weapons and other necessary equipment. Also, training and joint military exercises, but we don’t seek military alliance and we will not send our troops,” Khovaev said in an interview after the meeting.
Aside from security, he said that Russia is ready to cooperate with the Philippines in different fields such as trade and investments, political, education, culture, tourism, science and technology, as well as agriculture.
“We are looking forward to cooperation in different fields. It will be a milestone in the history of our relations and it should be successful. It is in the long-term interest of the two countries and it will greatly contribute to the regional stability and sustainable development,” he said.
Duterte has said he wants Russia to be an ally.
During his visit, the President intends to have a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he already met in November 2016, during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Peru.
Duterte said Putin was his “idol.”
By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star)
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