(Eagle News) – The Philippines further intensified its ties with Russia with the holding of a bilateral meeting between Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday, May 15, in Moscow.
Cayetano thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Foreign Minister for valuing better relations with the Philippines.
“We thank President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for attaching great importance to our relations and for their warm hospitality,” he said.
Cayetano, together with Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo and the rest of the Philippine delegation, met with the Russian Foreign Minister and other Russian officials where they discussed “cooperation in the politico-security, economic and scientific, and socio-cultural spheres.”
Cayetano also cited in particular during the bilateral talks the “increasing defense cooperation” between the Philippines and Russia following the signing last year of the Agreement on Defense Cooperation and the Agreement on Military-technical Cooperation.
“We are undertaking a working visit to Russia as part of our efforts to build on stronger and mutually beneficial ties with the Russian people,” he said.
“The visit is in line with President Duterte’s commitment towards an independent foreign policy that is centered on the needs and aspirations of the Filipino,” the Department of Foreign Affairs chief said.
He also noted the “high-level engagements between our officials which helped translate the understanding between our leaders into concrete plans and programs.”
These high-level engagements, according to Cayetano, include last year’s official visits to Manila of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Foreign Minister Lavrov, and Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu during the Philippine chairmanship of ASEAN in 2017.
During the official visit, Secretary Cayetano, together with Panelo also witnessed the historic signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for academic collaboration between the New Era University (NEU), an emerging hub in the Philippines generating knowledge on ASEAN studies and international relations, and the Moscow State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO) on May 14, at the MGIMO campus in Moscow.
The event which was organized by the Philippine Embassy in Moscow led by Ambassador Carlos Sorreta was the first agreement by MGIMO, an elite Russian university run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia with a private educational institution from the Philippines.
Cayetano also spoke before diplomats and the academe at MGIMO and met the Filipino community in Russia.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said there are around 6,000 Filipinos living and working in Russia as of June 2017. (Eagle News Service)