Nine deals signed as ties between the two countries reach new level

Published November 15, 2017, 12:10 AM

Russia vowed to stand by the Philippines as both countries signed nine agreements at the sidelines of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila late Monday evening, underscoring the new level of relationship between the two countries.

The signing was made during President Duterte’s bilateral meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev where both reaffirmed the close ties between their respective countries.

MAN OF THE HOUR — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau keeps up his fan-friendly image as he greets Filipinos waiting to catch a glimpse or a snapshot of him at the lobby of a building in downtown Manila on Monday. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP | Manila Bulletin)

The two leaders witnessed the signing of the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters; Treaty on Extradition; and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation between the Department of Energy and the State Atomic Energy Corporation “Rosatom” of the Russian Federation.

Also signed were MOU on Cooperation in the Field of Mass Communications; MOU on the Development of Cooperation in Transport Education; and an MOU between the Commission on Higher Education of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.

An MOU between the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines and the Federal Service for Intellectual Property of the Russian Federation; the Agreement on Cooperation between the Commission on Audit of the Republic of the Philippines and the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation; and the Agreement of Cooperation and Partnership between Philippine company Vi Holding LLC and Russian company Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc., were also signed.

PH-Russia ties reach new level

Medvedev said the relationship between the Philippines and Russia must have reached another level for them to still meet each other happily even late in the evening after meeting with other world leaders.

Medvedev also commended Duterte for hosting the ASEAN Summit successfully and acknowledged how tiring it must be.

“To host such event is a difficult work and I know that today you have had very lots of meetings with different heads of government, state and government delegations that is difficult and quite tiring,” Medvedev told Duterte during their bilateral meeting.

“But the fact that we are meeting with you quite late at night points to a new level of our partnership, of our relations,” he added.

Russia stands by PH

The Russian Prime Minister said both countries have opened a new chapter in their relations and assured Duterte that Russia is ready to expand ties with the Philippines, especially in countering terrorism.

“And definitely, we are ready to expand our ties in all the areas and dimensions, including politics and trade economic cooperation, cultural ties, as well as cooperation and interaction on quite sensitive things and spheres such as fight against terrorism and mutual technical cooperation and arms supplies,” Medvedev said.

“No doubt we will keep standing by your side, we’ll keep assisting you in this very important and sensitive theme and along this track of fight against terrorism in the course like bringing or restoring law and order,” he added.

Duterte, for his part, thanked Medvedev for Russia’s assistance to the Philippines during the Marawi crisis.

“We are gratified by your presence so that also we can express our desire to thank you personally and the Russian people and government for helping us on a crucial moment during the war in Marawi,” he said.

“We were able to use the rifles and the arms that you gave us on time,” he added, noting that it was a Russian sniper model which neutralized one of the top three commanders of the Daesh-inspired terrorists.

Comfort for Russian drug suspects

Meanwhile, Duterte assured Medvedev that arrested Russian drug suspects Yuri Kirdyushkin and Anastasia Novopashina would get fair treatment whether the charges against them were true or not.

“I would just like to say that we have a working functional justice system here and they will get a fair trial and that they will be detained in a comfortable house,” he said.

“It’s [their cases] still under investigation,” he added.

“Whether true or not, we will find out but I will see to it that they are treated fairly and no additional stress on their person that will happen,” he continued.

Kirdyushkin was arrested by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) October last year after the Bureau of Customs (BOC) discovered around 7.4 kilos of suspected powdered cocaine and 2.5 kilos of liquid cocaine inside his luggage at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Kirdyushkin claimed that he did not know he was carrying illegal drugs as a friend only asked him to bring it to Manila.

Anastasia Novopashina, meanwhile, was arrested at NAIA after Customs officials found in her possession high-grade cocaine.

Without her knowledge, local officials, in coordination with the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, had been monitoring her movements until she reached the Philippines.

PH products in Russia

Duterte also thanked Medvedev for considering to allow the Philippines to exhibit Filipino products in Russia.

“We have started an improvement of our friendship and the plan increases of our trade, expand it and I know that your country is seriously considering all of these things and we are happy that we can find a new market in the Eurasian front,” Duterte said. According to Duterte, the Philippines intends to have a small opening so the country can do business with other countries.

“But we intend to build a house where we can exhibit our products. It might be a little – exchange of the trade – that will be placed there in Moscow perhaps were the Russian people can view what products that we are going to offer,” he said.

President Duterte had a State Visit in Russia last May but was cut short as the Philippine leader opted to return to the country to attend to the war in Marawi which has just erupted during the time.

Courtesy of Manila Bulletin