MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday he is ready to talk any issue with United States President Barack Obama in their scheduled bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 29th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit next week in Laos.
”He can wish any topic at all. I am ready to talk to him,” President Duterte said in a media interview after welcoming the 129 repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) at the Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Last Tuesday, the White House has announced that Obama is scheduled to meet Duterte in Laos.
President Duterte said he would explain first to the US President the issue of human rights if Obama will open the topic in connection with the Philippine government intensified campaign against illegal drugs.
”They must understand the problem first before we talk about human rights. I would insist, “Listen to me. This is what the problem is.” Then we can talk. No problem,” Duterte told the media.
The US had earlier expressed concern over the extra-judicial killings of drug suspects in the Philippines.
Since President Duterte took over as the country’s 16th President last June 30, close to 800 drug pushers and users have been killed already in legitimate police operations.
Police have also arrested over 10,000 drug dependents and registered over 600,000 surrenderers as the result of Duterte administration’s aggressive war against illegal drugs.
With over three million Filipino drug dependents, President Duterte vowed to finish the fight until the last drug apparatus is detroyed.
Meanwhile, President Duterte also told the media that he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the ASEAN Summit.
”Yes,” a short answer from President Duterte when asked to confirm his meeting with the Russian leader.