Russia has offered to assist the Philippines in boosting the anti-terrorism capabilities of its security forces and support the Duterte administration’s intensive drive against illegal drugs, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said on Tuesday.
Cayetano made this disclosure after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers Meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center on Monday.
“Minister Lavrov and I both agreed to fast track negotiations for pending bilateral agreements, particularly on military-technical cooperation, illegal narcotics, and law enforcement,” Cayetano said in a statement.
Cayetano thanked the Russian Federation for offering to help bolster the capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in dealing with the threat posed by Islamic State-affiliate terrorist groups operating in Mindanao.
Russia’s offer, according to Cayetano, is of vital importance to country, “especially given its great expertise, vast experience and modern equipment in dealing with terrorism and other security concerns.”
The former senator said Lavrov wanted to convey to President Rodrigo Duterte Moscow’s “solidarity with his efforts to eliminate any extremist threat to your country and our appreciation for your solidarity with Russia’s fight against terrorism.”
Last May, Duterte met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow. His visit was cut short, however, because of the clashes that erupted in Marawi City.