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Russia backs war vs drugs

MOSCOW, Russia – Russia has reassured President Duterte that it is committed to help the Philippines win the war against terrorism and drug trafficking which the Chief Executive said could come via soft loan for the acquisition of Russian-made precision arms and military technology and through intelligence exchange.

“I would like to reiterate our commitment to working together in security sphere, in fighting terrorism or fighting drug trafficking and other matters,” stated Rusian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during bilateral talks with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano Thursday.

Cayetano and Lavrov met at Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to further discuss agreements between the two nations that would energize a diplomatic relationship that was laidback for 41 years.

Prior to the meeting, Cayetano disclosed that Russian President Vladimir Putin responded positively to Duterte’s request for a soft loan that would be utilized in acquiring state-of-the-art Russian weaponry to help the Philippines address terrorism.

Cayetano said Russia now awaits the shopping list of military arms provisions necessary to win the war against terrorism.

Lavrov confirmed that preparations for “military and technical cooperation and cooperation between our law enforcement” are being finalized.

Notwithstanding Duterte’s decision to cut short his four-day visit here to personally manage his Martial Law declaration due to the Maute Group terrorist attack in Marawi City, the Philippines and Russia signed 10 bilateral agreements that evidenced reinvigorated diplomatic relations that the President inspired under his independent foreign policy.

“We are talking about the agreements of cooperation in the sphere of defense, memorandums of cooperation in the sphere of nuclear energy, transportation, investment, industry, cultural, and artistic affairs – agreements on tourism as well as the agreement on the consultations between our ministries and our countries,” said Lavrov.

He added: “So we can surely say that the visit of President Duterte to the Russian Federation indeed provide an important impetus in development of stable relationships between our countries.”

Cayetano stressed Duterte’s determination to address the Islamic State-backed terrorism being staged by the homegrown Maute and Abu Sayyaf Groups.

“Current developments in Mindanao where ISIS involvement is suspected, support our common desire to strengthen security and intelligence cooperation and make this a safer world for all of our people,” said Cayetano.
(Ben R. Rosario)