By Pia Lee-Brago
MANILA, Philippines - For Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, developments in Mindanao following the Maute terror group’s attack in Marawi City only strengthen the Philippines’ desire to deepen bilateral engagement in security and defense, especially in terms of intelligence-sharing, in order to combat terrorism.
Cayetano met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow for the first time on May 25, following his appointment as the country’s top envoy, to discuss opportunities to strengthen and deepen the Philippine-Russian relations. This was after President Duterte’s decision to cut short his official visit to Russia due to the security situation in Mindanao.
Cayetano conveyed the President’s deep gratitude for the flexibility and statesmanship of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had to reorganize his schedule to meet with Duterte just before the latter flew out of Moscow in the evening of May 23.
Lavrov stressed that the Russian government completely understands the decision and that Duterte’s official visit has laid the foundation for a stable relationship between the two nations.
During the working lunch hosted by Lavrov for Cayetano, the two exchanged views on a wide range of bilateral and regional issues.
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