Secretary Cayetano, Foreign Minister Lavrov Open a New Chapter in Philippines-Russia Relations
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano and his Russian counterpart Sergey V. Lavrov talk to the press at the start of their bilateral meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mansion in Moscow on May 25. (Photo credit: RTVM.)
29 May 2017 MOSCOW –Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov in Moscow on May 25 after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s decision to cut short his Official Visit to Russia due to the security situation in Mindanao.
“There is no doubt that Philippines-Russian relations will grow under President Duterte’s administration. We will work hard to make this newfound robustness in the relations sustainable”, Secretary Cayetano said.
“President Duterte’s historic official visit to Russia though brief was productive. On 24 May, ten (10) bilateral documents were signed. They will serve as frameworks for cooperation in the spheres of security, defense, trade and investment, industrial development, agriculture, transportation, culture, and nuclear energy,” the Secretary added.
In their first meeting, Secretary Cayetano and Foreign Minister Lavrov discussed opportunities to strengthen and deepen Philippines-Russia relations. Secretary Cayetano conveyed President Duterte’s and the Filipino people’s deep gratitude for the flexibility and statesmanship of President Vladimir Putin. The Russian President had to reorganize his schedule to meet with President Duterte just before the latter flew out of Moscow in the evening of May 23.
Foreign Minister Lavrov stressed that the Russian Government completely understands the decision and that President Duterte’s official visit laid the foundation for a stable Philippines-Russia relationship.
During the working lunch hosted by Foreign Minister Lavrov for the Secretary, the two sides exchanged views on a wide range of bilateral and regional issues.
Secretary Cayetano and Foreign Minister Lavrov reiterated the Philippines’ and Russia’s shared commitment to enhance ties in the areas of trade, science and technology, security, military-technical cooperation, energy, culture, and people-to-people exchanges.
Secretary Cayetano specifically noted that developments in Mindanao strengthen the Philippines’ desire to deepen bilateral engagement in security and defense, especially in terms of intelligence-sharing, in order to combat terrorism.
As a concrete step forward, the two foreign ministers agreed to facilitate business-to-business exchanges. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov extended an invitation to Undersecretary Enrique A. Manalo to visit Moscow in the latter part of the year for consultations.
Although the presidential visit was shortened, programmed activities like the Philippines-Russia CEO Roundtable and Philippines-Russia Business Forum, organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), were held from May 24 and 25, respectively. Official engagements in St. Petersburg scheduled on 26 May will also push through, such as the business forum with St. Petersburg’s top industrialists and businessmen and meeting between Sec. Lopez and Governor Georgy Poltavchenko.
The bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov is Secretary Cayetano’s first meeting with a counterpart following his appointment as the country’s top envoy. The Russian Government elevated the status of his stay in Moscow to a working visit immediately after President Duterte’s departure on 23 May.
Other Cabinet Secretaries who remained in Moscow also held bilateral meetings with their respective Russian counterparts. These include Secretary Emmanuel Piñol of the Department of Agriculture, Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo of the Department of Tourism, Secretary Alfonso Cusi of the Department of Energy, and Secretary Fortunato de la Peña of the Department of Science and Technology.
For more information, visit www.moscowpe.dfa.gov.ph. END