President Duterte has invited anew Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit the Philippines in an effort to forge “a more robust and deeper cooperation” between the two countries.
The President said the Philippines considers Russia as “a good friend and partner” as he urged Putin to visit Manila as soon as circumstances would allow.
Duterte made the remarks when he met new Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Marat Pavlov via video conference in Malacañang Wednesday.
The Russian envoy was among the seven ambassadors who presented their credentials to the President through a virtual ceremony at the Palace. Duterte gave his remarks from nearby Malago clubhouse while the new ambassadors were welcomed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. at the Palace.
“Next year marks the 45th year anniversary of our diplomatic relations. I take this opportunity to reiterate my invitation to President Vladimir Putin to visit the Philippines as soon as circumstances will allow,” the President said.
“It will be an opportunity to celebrate and reaffirm the enduring friendship and cooperation between our countries,” he added.
Duterte said the Philippines and Russia have strengthened cooperation in defense and security, health, science and technology, and their economies in recent years. “We aim for an ever more robust and deeper cooperation in the coming years,” he added.
Duterte also took the opportunity to extend the country’s gratitude to Russia for its commitment to supply coronavirus vaccines to the country. “We thank Russia for its offer to supply Sputnik V and share technology on vaccine production with the Philippines,” he said.
Duterte earlier accepted Russia’s offer to supply COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines and he even offered to take the first shot to show his trust and gratitude to Russia.
Duterte, who has referred to Putin as his “idol,” already made two official trips to Russia since he assumed the presidency in 2016. He previously invited Putin to visit Manila but the Russian leader has yet to make the trip.
The new Russian ambassador meantime expressed commitment to help strengthen the bilateral ties between the two counties during his tour of duty.
“One of the promising areas of bilateral cooperation is the joint combat against the coronavirus pandemic,” Pavlov said during the presentation of credentials at the Palace.
“I’m confident that our collaboration in possible distribution and manufacturing of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine in the Philippines will greatly contribute to friendly constructive relations between Russian Federation and the Republic of the Philippines,” he added.
In the same ceremony, the President welcomed the other new foreign ambassadors deployed to the Philippines and looked forward to strengthening the relations with their respective nations.
Among those who presented the credentials to the President were the ambassadors from India, Chile, Hungary, Pakistan, Finland and Egypt