“At the invitation of President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation, President Duterte will participate in the Valdai Discussion Club plenary session in Sochi on Oct. 3,” Malacañang announced yesterday.
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Duterte to have bilateral meeting with Putin
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - September 28, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte will be speaking at the plenary session of the Valdai Forum, a first for a Philippine president, before holding bilateral talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his five-day state visit next week in Russia.

“At the invitation of President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation, President Duterte will participate in the Valdai Discussion Club plenary session in Sochi on Oct. 3,” Malacañang announced yesterday.

Ma. Amelita Aquino, assistant secretary for European affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), said Duterte, along with Putin and other invited leaders, will speak during the plenary session of the Valdai Forum.

“The Valdai Discussion Club is one of Russia’s prominent and respected think tanks and discussion groups. It organizes annually the Valdai Forum where top Russian and international officials as well as policymakers, academics and journalists are invited,” Aquino said at a briefing yesterday in Malacañang.

The Valdai Discussion Club is a think tank closely associated with Putin, whom Duterte has described as his “idol” and “hero” during the early years of his presidency.

According to the chief of presidential protocol and presidential assistant on foreign affairs Robert Borje, the President’s speech will take off from the theme, “World Order Seen from the East.”

“So, he is expected to give his perspective or vision of the world order as it is emerging right now and how this relates to Philippine foreign policy. Of course, we can surmise that the President will include in his statement an explanation of his independent foreign policy,” Borje said.

“And since he will be talking to specific groups particularly intellectuals, academicians, journalists from Russia, then he is expected to also provide an overview of how important Philippines-Russia relations are at this point,” he added.

Duterte had moved to strengthen diplomatic ties with Russia and China, veering away from the United States and other Western countries, since he assumed office in 2016 and pursued an independent foreign policy.

While Manila warmed relations with Beijing and Moscow, the President has also been attacking the US and members of the European Union for questioning how he deals with the drug menace in the country.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Defense Secretary Deflin Lorenzana and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III are among the members of the official delegation.

Malacañang said no member of the First Family is joining the President on the state visit.

Duterte will also give a brief lecture at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, deemed as one of the most prestigious and leading institutions in Russia in the area of diplomacy and international affairs.

He will also be interacting with the Filipino community, composed of 7,000 workers, caregivers and office executives.

Fourth bilateral meeting 

According to Aquino, the highlight of the trip will be the President’s bilateral meeting with Putin “where they will discuss the state of our bilateral relations and how both sides can further enhance and expand our cooperation in various areas.”

“They will also exchange views on regional and global developments and other issues,” he said.

It will be the fourth meeting of the two presidents.

Duterte and Putin first met in November 2016 on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Peru and then the visit to Russia in May 27. They met again on Nov. 27 on the sidelines of the APEC Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Duterte had to cut short his trip in 2017 after war broke out in Marawi.

Business forum, Filcom and trade agreements

Duterte and Putin will also witness the exchange of several bilateral agreements covering practical areas of cooperation such as culture, health and basic research, among others.

In Moscow, the DFA said Duterte will attend the Philippines-Russia Business Forum to promote trade and investment opportunities between the two countries. It will also serve as a venue for networking between Russian and Filipino businessmen.

Aside from this, the Bayanihan Dance Co. and the Philippine Madrigal Singers will showcase before Russian audiences, as well as other guests, the richness of Philippine culture through dance and music.

PHILIPPINES RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN
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