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President Duterte is open to visiting Moscow following the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I welcomed the invitation of President Putin to visit Russia,” the Chief Executive said late Wednesday in a news conference upon his arrival at the Davao City International Airport from his first Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, Peru.
Duterte said he already directed Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to undertake an advance visit soonest to firm up a substantive agenda with Moscow.
He admitted that he could not visit Russia at this time because of the cold weather. “Ang totoo talaga niyan, hindi (ako) makapunta ngayon because I cannot stand the cold,” Duterte said.
The Russian leader invited his Philippine counterpart during their inaugural meeting at the sidelines of the APEC leaders’ summit.
Duterte expressed his pleasure of meeting Putin and his respect for the latter’s leadership. Putin congratulated Duterte for winning the May 2016 elections and likewise expressed his pleasure at meeting him.
Putin also noted that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Philippines- Russia diplomatic relations, and acknowledged the many accomplishments that have promoted trust and confidence between the two countries.
Both leaders likewise discussed the various ways to further develop comprehensive bilateral cooperation in areas, such as economic, security and defense, cultural, and people-to-people exchange, among others. (Elena L. Aben)