Moscow to supply state-of-the-art weapons to Manila

Russian soldiers ride on military armoured personnel carriers on a road near the Crimean port city of Sevastopol March 10, 2014. (REUTERS)
Updated 05 September 2019

Moscow to supply state-of-the-art weapons to Manila

  • Russia sends defense attache to the Philippines to bolster bilateral ties

MANILA: In a bid to boost the capabilities of the Philippines’ military, Russia said on Wednesday that it will supply the country’s armed forces with brand new, state-of-the-art weapons and equipment. The move follows a reaffirmation by both countries to strengthen defense cooperation in order to contribute toward lasting peace and stability in the region.
“We are ready to supply sophisticated arms and weapons in order to improve the capabilities of the Philippines’ armed forces. We are open to joint training sessions, joint drills and military exercises,” Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev told Arab News at a reception held for the opening of the Office of the Russian Defense Attaché in Manila on Tuesday.
“We offer advanced defense equipment. And if we say that we are ready and want to help your country, to improve your defense capabilities, it means in particular that we are ready to supply sophisticated arms and weapons,” he said.
Recently, Khovaev and the head of Russia’s state arms exporter, Alexander Mikheyev, met with the Philippines’ president, Rodrigo Duterte, in Malacañang where they discussed prospects for defense cooperation, especially in combating religious extremism.
“Russia suffered a lot from terrorism. So we know very well what it means. We have a lot of experience and we are ready to share our experience with our partners and friends,” Khovaev said. “We are ready to use all ways and means in order to strengthen military defense ties between our two countries. “It is in the strategic national interest of both Russians and Filipinos.”

HIGHLIGHT

It marks the first time in more than 40 years of Philippines and Russian bilateral relations that Moscow has designated a resident defense attaché to Manila, and follows the deployment of Manila’s first defense attaché to Russia in May last year.

During the reception, Khovaev introduced Col. Dmitry Nikitin, the first Russian defense attaché to the Philippines.
It marks the first time in more than 40 years of Philippines and Russian bilateral relations that Moscow has designated a resident defense attaché to Manila, and follows the deployment of Manila’s first defense attaché to Russia in May last year.
“It was a very meaningful event because it opens up new horizons for bilateral cooperation, particularly in the most sensitive field of defense and national security,” Khovaev said.
“Russia is extending the hand of help to our Philippine partners in mutual defense and security. So it really shows that we are ready to become a reliable partner and close friend for Filipinos,” he added.
“We are now living in a world where all of us depend on each other. No country, big or small, is able to ensure its security and defense on its own simply because the current challenges and threats are transboundary.”
Philippines Defense Undersecretary Raymundo Elefante welcomed the development saying that he is optimistic about stronger military ties between the Manila and Moscow.
“It will be a long journey but I think this relationship will be a very good opportunity,” he said.


Anti-government protesters block roads in Pakistan as unrest mounts

Updated 14 November 2019

Anti-government protesters block roads in Pakistan as unrest mounts

  • Tens of thousands of demonstrators joined a sit-in in Islamabad on Oct. 31 and camped there for about two weeks
  • Firebrand cleric leading the protests called for nationwide demonstrations

ISLAMABAD: Anti-government protesters in Pakistan blocked major roads and highways across the country on Thursday in a bid to force Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign.
The demonstrators — led by the leader of opposition party Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), the firebrand cleric Maulana Fazlur Rehman — have taken to the streets as the start of their “Plan B” to topple the government and ensure a general election after failing to push Khan out through a fortnight-long sit-in in Islamabad, which ended on Wednesday.
That same day, Rehman told his party workers to spread their protests to other parts of the country.
“This protest will continue not for a day but for a month, if our leadership instructs,” said JUI-F Secretary-General, Maulana Nasir Mehmood, to a group of protesters who blocked the country’s main Karakoram Highway — an important trade route between Pakistan and China that also connects the country’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province with its northern areas.
The JUI-F protesters also blocked other key routes in KP and a major highway connecting the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan. The party’s Balochistan chapter also announced its intention to block the highway connecting Pakistan to neighboring Iran.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators joined the sit-in in Islamabad on Oct. 31 and camped there for about two weeks, demanding the prime minister’s resignation and fresh polls in the country following allegations of electoral fraud last year and the mismanagement of Pakistan’s economy. The government denies both charges.
Rehman is a veteran politician who was a member of the National Assembly for 20 years. He enjoys support in religious circles across the country. His party has yet to share a detailed plan regarding which roads will be closed when, or how long this new phase of protests will continue.
The JUI-F and other opposition parties have been trying to capitalize on the anger and frustration of the public against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ruling party, which came to power last year promising 10 million new jobs for the youth, 5 million low-cost houses, and economic reforms to benefit the middle class.
Since then, Pakistan’s economy has nosedived, witnessing double-digit inflation and rampant unemployment. The government signed a $6-billion bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund to stave off a balance-of-payments crisis.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has stabilized the deteriorating economy, and Maulana Fazlur Rehman ‘Plan B’ will fail like his ‘Plan A,’” Firdous Ashiq Awan, special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcasting, said in a statement to the press.

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