MOSCOW—Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano expressed his gratitude to his counterpart Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for Russia’s commitment to broaden relations with the Philippines in various spheres.
Cayetano personally extended his appreciation and gratitude to Lavrov for the various agreements signed between the two governments.
“Your Excellency, I want to reiterate the President’s commitment to strengthen the relations between Russia and the Philippines in many areas,” Cayetano told Lavrov at a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here on Thursday, May 25.
The new Foreign Affairs Secretary thanked Moscow for its commitment to strengthen cooperation with Manila particularly in security and intelligence cooperation and in stepping up measures to combat terrorism especially amid violence in southern Philippines.
“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,” Cayetano said.
“So let me again express our gratitude for Russia’s offer to share your expertise, experience and vast knowledge in the field of security and fighting terrorism,” he added.
At least nine agreements in the areas of tourism, agriculture, defense cooperation, trade and industry, foreign affairs, transportation, and culture and the arts were signed between the Philippines and Russia.
This despite the absence of President Rodrigo Duterte, who had to cut short his trip to Moscow due to a terror incident in Marawi City that prompted him to declare martial law in Mindanao.
Cayetano again expressed his gratitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin for understanding the decision of the President and even adjusting his schedule to meet with Duterte before returning to the Philippines last Tuesday.
Cayetano said the President is still looking forward to visit Russia again to which Lavrov responded that Moscow will be happy to see Duterte anytime.
For his part, Lavrov said the short visit of Duterte in Moscow has given an “important impetus” to the development of stable relations between the Philippines and Russia.
He said the two governments have been preparing to sign documents on military and law enforcement cooperation.
He likewise reiterated Russia’s solidarity with the leadership of Duterte expressing his sympathies and condolences to those who were hurt in Marawi.