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Duterte discusses arms deal with Putin

MOSCOW, Russia – President Duterte reiterated the Philippines offer of friendship and optimism for a robust partnership in trade and commerce with Russia during a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin Tuesday night.

Meeting Putin two days ahead of the original schedule, Duterte stressed to Putin the Philippines’ immediate need to acquire precision weapons and military supply as he aims for a decisive end to growing terrorist threat in his country.

“I am sorry if I am in a hurry but I need to buy, if you can grant me a soft loan, we’ll raise the money and pay it right away because the arms that we ordered from America was cancelled,” said Duterte.

Putin responded by assuring Duterte that he understands the Filipino leader’s predicament in abbreviating his four-day official visit in order to personally attend to threats to peace and security in the Philippines.

“And my colleagues and myself definitely understand quite well that you do have to come back to return to your motherland,” Putin told Duterte.

The two leaders met at the Kremlin Grand Palace minutes before Duterte boarded his flight back to the Philippines to personally oversee the execution of his martial law declaration over Mindanao where ISIS-influenced Maute rebels launched armed attacks in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.

Putin assured Duterte that the bilateral agreements that have been fully discussed and prepared by their countries “will be signed and inked.”

Foreign Affairs secretary Alan Peter Cayetano confirmed that he will take over the work assigned to Duterte in Russia which include the signing of trade, military and law enforcement cooperation agreements.