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MANILA: Moscow’s Ambassador to Manila Igor Khovaev says that relations between the international locations are on the “highest level in history” and gave credit score to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte for the advance in diplomatic ties with Russia, notably within the space of protection.

“I believe that we have all reasons to say that our bilateral relations are at the highest level in our history. Of course, after the election of … President (Rodrigo) Duterte, absolutely new horizons (were) opened up,” Khovaev advised Arab News.

“We highly appreciate an independent foreign policy pursued by President Duterte, and we understand that the diversification of the external ties of your country means keeping old friends and partners and getting the new ones.”

Khovaev added that Russia has all the time been clear that it’s “ready to be a new reliable partner and a new good friend for the Philippines with no damage to (its) traditionally close relationships with other countries.”

Khovaev has been the longest-serving Russian envoy to Manila since assuming workplace in 2015.

As he nears the tip of his tour of responsibility in Manila, he highlighted a number of the main developments in bilateral ties between the Philippines and Russia.

“I arrived in Manila in April 2015. At that time, you had President (Benigno) Aquino. At that time, I couldn’t even imagine that it would be possible even to discuss possibilities for our bilateral defense and security cooperation,” he stated.

However, with Duterte’s “independent foreign policy thrust,” he stated, the bilateral engagement between the Philippines and Russia had “broadened,” ensuing within the institution of confidence-building actions between the 2 nations’ protection sector.

He stated that the Philippines’ previous and long-time allies “have no right to be jealous” or “to put any obstacles” in the best way of bilateral cooperation.

Khovaev reiterated that beneath the current protection partnership, Russia was prepared to provide the Philippines with subtle arms and weapons.

“We never offer secondhand arms and weapons. The same arms and weapons the Russian armed forces are using. Because we respect our partners,” he stated.

Khovaev additionally cited a verbal settlement between the 2 international locations on the acquisition of helicopters, with out divulging every other particulars as “this cooperation requires a certain degree of confidentiality.”

“Many things are under consideration . . . but, everything is being done in the spirit of partnership and mutual trust. Because it’s not just a trading deal, we want to build a long-term partnership between our two countries,” the ambassador stated.

“So, no political linkages, and no political meddling . . . we are ready to discuss any option of our cooperation.”

Khovaev added that one other thought value exploring was joint navy workout routines, which have been “very possible.”

“We are ready to discuss it after the pandemic,” he stated.

As a stepping stone for that initiative, officers from the Presidential Security Group (PSG) have already visited Russia for joint coaching classes with their Russian colleagues.

“They shared their best practices with their Philippine counterparts. And I think it’s important for your country because the world is diversified . . . And it’s just pragmatic to use the best experience, the best practices of different countries in your own interest,” he stated.

“We are ready to share our experience in defense building practices. We are ready to discuss anything you Filipinos want to help your country to increase your defense capabilities. I’m saying again, without any political linkage,” he stated.

In the battle in opposition to terrorism, Khovaev stated that Russia was open to an change of data, including that the Philippines’ intelligence service had entry to the Russian financial institution of data on terrorist organizations.

“Many things have been discussed during the consultations between the Russian security council and the Philippine National Security Council. This mechanism of consultations will be resumed after the pandemic. So, we have good channels for cooperation and dialogue,” he stated.

Khovaev thanked the Philippines president for the optimistic momentum of ties capped by “unprecedented” a number of conferences between Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Wednesday, Duterte hailed Khovaev for his contribution in deepening protection ties when the envoy met the president for a farewell in Malacanang.

Duterte lauded Khovaev for his essential function in redefining and reinvigorating Philippines-Russia relations.

“Key agreements were signed and consultative mechanisms established, particularly in the areas of defense and security, trade and economic cooperation, science and technology, and health,” Malacanang stated in a press release.

Duterte famous Khovaev’s function in facilitating confidence-building measures and conferred him with the Order of Sikatuna, with the rank of Datu (Grand Cross), gold distinction.



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