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No hidden agenda in defense cooperation — Russian envoy

MANILA, Philippines — Russia has no “hidden agenda” in negotiating the establishment of a legal framework for cooperation and donation of Russian military supplies and equipment to the Philippines, Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev has said.

The Philippines should see the possible transfer of Russian military supplies and equipment as very attractive because there are no political conditionalities involved, he said.

“That’s a fundamental principle of our military policy, our military cooperation with all interested foreign partners,” Khovaev said in a press conference aboard a Russian anti-submarine ship docked in Manila on Saturday.

He stressed that Russia is ready to help the Philippines in the fight against terrorism.

“We’re ready to help. So please don’t worry. We Russians have no hidden agenda,” Khovaev reiterated. “If we extend our help to you, we’re doing that sincere wish.”

Russia, the ambassador said, is also ready to discuss the possibility of transfer of Russian military technology to the Philippines to help the country build its own defense industry, noting that the political environment to make donations has become very “favorable.”

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“It means that our aim is not just the short-term trade deals. It’s aimed at building a sustainable, long-term strategic partnership with your country. Such partnership is not possible without mutual trust,” he said.

Khovaev does not see any difficulty in the Philippine-Russia negotiation on transfer of military supplies and equipment. He only saw the lack of knowledge about each other because there is no experience of cooperation in the technical field.

“We’re on the right track. I’m confirming once again that Russian Federation is open to consider all options of our bilateral cooperation in (the) military and technical field(s). We fully support your legitimate fight against terrorism. We’re ready to extend our hand of help to your country so please consider us as your reliable partner and friend,” Khovaev stressed.

Last May, President Duterte went on a five-day trip to Russia also to meet President Vladimir Putin but had to cut short his trip after he declared martial law in Mindanao following a standoff between government troops and militants in Marawi City.





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