22 May 2017

News Report: Philippine President to Start First Official Visit to Russia on Monday

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday will start his first official visit to Russia, which will last through Friday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Duterte is scheduled to meet with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. The politicians are expected to discuss issues concerning cooperation in political, military and economic spheres.

Apart from meeting with Russian leadership, the Philippine president will deliver a speech in Moscow State Institute of International Relations on Wednesday and participate in the Philippine-Russia Business Forum in the Russian city of St. Petersburg on Friday.

Duterte is also expected to meet with representatives of the Philippine community in Russia, which reaches up to 5,000 people.

During the visit, the sides are planning to sign agreements on defense, military and technical cooperation as well as on mutual legal assistance in criminal issues and extradition.

The president will be accompanied by several government officials, including the country's Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and a large business delegation.

The visit takes place against the background of worsening relations between Manila and Washington.

The Philippine president previously made several harsh statements regarding the United States. In October, Duterte stated that it was "time to say goodbye" to the United States’ use of Philippine land for military bases, secured by a deal signed by Duterte’s predecessor. In November, Duterte said that Manila intended to cooperate with Moscow and Beijing rather than with Washington.

This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.