Duterte: Philippines wants more cooperation with Pakistan, Russia, India

President Rodrigo Duterte at a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases. (AP)
President Rodrigo Duterte at a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases. (AP)
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Updated 04 December 2020

Duterte: Philippines wants more cooperation with Pakistan, Russia, India

Duterte: Philippines wants more cooperation with Pakistan, Russia, India
  • The president wants to cooperate with Pakistan and Russia in the areas of counterterrorism and healthcare
  • Duterte also promised to expand defense cooperation with India

MANILA: President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed the Philippines’ interest in expanding cooperation with Pakistan and Russia in the areas of counterterrorism and healthcare, especially in the fight against coronavirus.
His comments came as he received the credentials of several new envoys to Manila on Wednesday.
“Let me extend our military-to-military exchanges and sharing of intelligence and best practices, particularly in countering terrorism and violence,” Duterte told Pakistani Ambassador Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad Kazi.
He praised Duterte’s “far-sighted policies” and “leadership, which has brought so many dividends for the Republic of the Philippines.” The two countries enjoy “long, enduring ties of friendship and cooperation,” Kazi said. “In fact, we started off in 1949, when a consulate of the Philippines was opened in Karachi.” He referred to the island region of Mindanao, which has a significant Muslim population and has seen numerous outbreaks of militancy and separatism.
“We, in Pakistan, admire the consistent endeavors of your excellency towards restoration of peace and stability in the Mindanao region, which has brought increased trust and stability among the stakeholders, and significant prosperity for the people of the region and the country,” Kazi said.
In 2017, Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao following a five-month siege of Marawi City by Daesh-affiliated militants.
During Wednesday’s ceremony, Duterte also promised to expand defense cooperation with India as he welcomed New Delhi’s Ambassador Shambhu Kumaran.
Duterte said relations between India and the Philippines are driven by synergies between his administration’s independent foreign policy and New Delhi’s “Act East” policy.
“The Philippines is committed to further enhance cooperation with India in defense, security, trade and investments, and in combating the COVID-19 pandemic,” he told Kumaran.
The ambassador said India would like to explore “various opportunities for cooperation in new areas such as space, and to work towards ensuring a stable, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific by working together in the areas of defense and maritime security.” Accepting the letter of credence from Russian Ambassador Marat Pavlov, Duterte said the Philippines considers Russia a good friend and partner.
“We aim for an even more robust and deeper cooperation in the coming years,” Duterte told Pavlov. “We thank Russia for its offer to supply (the coronavirus vaccine) Sputnik V and share its technology on vaccine production with the Philippines.” Russia and the Philippines have agreed to conduct the vaccine’s Phase 3 clinical trials together, as Moscow promised to share its vaccine technology with Manila and pledged to build a pharmaceutical facility in the country.
Duterte repeated his invitation for Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit the Philippines, as next year the countries will mark their 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
“It will be an opportunity to celebrate and reaffirm the enduring friendship and cooperation between our countries,” Duterte said.
 


Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department
Updated 52 min 57 sec ago

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

WASHINGTON: The lead US negotiator of the Iran nuclear accord and a battle-tested hawk on Russia were named Saturday to top posts at President-elect Joe Biden’s State Department, signaling a return to normal after Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency.
Wendy Sherman, who brokered the Iran accord under Barack Obama and negotiated a nuclear deal with North Korea under Bill Clinton, was named as deputy secretary of state.
Victoria Nuland, a former career diplomat best known for her robust support for Ukrainian protesters in the ouster of a Russian-aligned president, was nominated under secretary for political affairs — the State Department’s third-ranking post in charge of day-to-day US diplomacy.
Biden said that the State Department nominees “have secured some of the most defining national security and diplomatic achievements in recent memory.”
“I am confident that they will use their diplomatic experience and skill to restore America’s global and moral leadership. America is back,” Biden said in a statement.
The State Department team will work under secretary of state-designate Antony Blinken, whose confirmation hearing will take place on Tuesday on the eve of Biden’s inauguration.
Blinken said that the State Department team, with women and ethnic minorities in prominent positions, “looks like America.”
“America at its best still has a greater capacity than any other country on earth to mobilize others to meet the challenges of our time,” Blinken said.
The optimism comes amid rising doubts about US leadership in Trump’s waning days after his supporters ransacked the Capitol on January 6 to try to stop the ceremonial certification of Biden’s victory.
Under outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a staunch defender of Trump, the United States has aggressively challenged Iran and China, robustly backed Israel and toyed with improving ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while also imposing sanctions on Moscow.
Sherman’s nomination marks another clear sign that Biden wants to return to the accord under which Iran drastically slashed its nuclear program in exchange for promises of sanctions relief.
Trump exited the deal in 2018 and imposed sweeping sanctions in what many observers saw as an unsuccessful attempt to topple the Shiite clerical regime.