Philippines’ Duterte tells UN expert to ‘go to hell’

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte addresses troops during the 120th anniversary of the Philippine Navy, Tuesday, May 22, 2018 in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. (AP)
Updated 03 June 2018
0

Philippines’ Duterte tells UN expert to ‘go to hell’

MANILA: President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday told a United Nations rights expert to “go to hell” over criticism of the Philippine leader for threatening the country’s top judge.
Duterte’s latest profanity-laced diatribe came after Diego Garcia-Sayan, the UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, said the president’s statements against former chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno were a “vicious attack” on the judiciary.
Sereno’s colleagues voted to remove her from office last month, shortly after Duterte openly called her his “enemy” and demanded her swift ouster.
“Tell him (Garcia-Sayan) not to interfere with the affairs of my country. He can go to hell,” Duterte told reporters in Manila, insisting he had nothing to do with Sereno’s dismissal.
“He is not a special person and I do not recognize his rapporteur title.”
Duterte, 73, has lashed out in the past — often using less-than-parliamentary language — at critics of the deadly drug war he launched soon after coming to power in 2016.
Several of his opponents have since been ousted, punished or threatened.
Police say they have killed 4,279 drug suspects in the anti-narcotics campaign but rights groups believe the actual number is three times higher.
Sereno was one of the few remaining high-profile critics of the crackdown at the time of her ouster.
The UN’s Garcia-Sayan said Friday that Duterte’s public threats against Sereno appeared to have had a “chilling effect” on her colleagues in the judiciary.
“The use of such derogatory language... sends a clear message to all judges of the Philippines: in the so-called ‘war on drugs’, you’re either with me or against me,” Garcia-Sayan said.


Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

Updated 26 June 2019
0

Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

  • But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues
  • The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance

NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to reduce heightened trade tension with India on Wednesday, promising a renewed focus on negotiating improved trade and investment ties between the two nations.
But Pompeo, on a visit to India, gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues ranging from access to Indian markets for leading American companies to New Delhi’s demands for foreign firms to store Indian data in the country, and exports of steel and aluminum to the United States.
The two nations are “friends who can help each other all around the world,” Pompeo told a joint news conference with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar after they met.
The current differences were expressed “in the spirit of friendship,” he added.
The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance.
In particular, the sudden introduction of new e-commerce rules for foreign investors in February angered the Americans because it showed New Delhi was prepared to move the goalposts to hurt two of the largest US companies, discount retailer Walmart, and Amazon.com Inc.
Walmart last year invested $16 billion to buy control of Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart.
Just days before Pompeo’s visit, India slapped higher retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products following Washington’s withdrawal of key trade privileges for New Delhi.
Jaishankar, a former Indian ambassador to the United States, played down the spat on Wednesday.
“If you trade with someone and they are your biggest trading partner, it is impossible you don’t have trade issues,” he said.
India’s ties with Russia and Iran, both now subject to US sanctions, are also a sore point.
US pressure has led India to stop buying oil from Iran, a top energy supplier. The United States has also stepped up pressure on India not to proceed with its purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia.
The missile deal and Iranian oil were both discussed during their meeting, Jaishankar and Pompeo said, but mentioned no resolution of either at the news conference.
Earlier, Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talks at his official residence in the capital, New Delhi, and they exchanged handshakes in images broadcast on television.
“The Prime Minister expressed his strong commitment to achieve the full potential of bilateral relations in trade and economy, energy, defense, counterterrorism and people-to-people contacts,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, without elaborating.
Pompeo is expected to round off the trip with a policy speech hosted by the US embassy, before departing on Thursday for a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 nations in Japan.