Obama to bring up drug war if meet with Duterte pushes through
(philstar.com) - September 5, 2016 - 9:45pm
MANILA, Philippines -- US President Barack Obama has instructed his staff to see whether meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte would be "productive" after the president warned that Obama should not lecture him on human rights.
 
Asked at a news conference in Hangzhou, China, whether he still intends to meet with Duterte and raise the issue of extrajudicial killings, Obama said he had instructed his aides to assess whether it is still possible for the two leaders to have a constructive meeting in Laos.
 
"I always want to make sure that if I'm having a meeting that it's actually productive, and that we're getting something done," Obama said.
 
"We recognize the significant burden that the drug trade plays not just in the Philippines but around the world, and fighting narco-trafficking is tough. But we will always assert the need to have due process and to engage in that fight against drugs in a way that's consistent with basic international norms. And so, undoubtedly, if and when we have a meeting this is something that is going to be brought up," said Obama, who has been attending a meeting of the Group of 20 nations.
 
 
Duterte, before leaving for Laos Monday night, said that nobody "has the right to lecture me". It was earlier hinted that Obama would bring up the human rights situation in the Philippines, where around 2,000 have died in police operations against illegal drugs and in drug-related killings, during the scheduled meeting. 
 
The US has already expressed "deep concern" over the deaths.
 
"The Philippines is not a vassal state. We have long ceased to be a colony of the United States... I do not respond to anybody but to the people of the Republic of the Philippines. Wala akong pakialam sa kanya, who is he?" Duterte said before departure at the Davao International Airport.
 
"I am a president of a sovereign state and we have long ceased to be a colony. I do not have any master except the Filipino people," Duterte added. -- with an AP report

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