Remarks of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Moscow, Russia
25 May 2017
MINISTER LAVROV: Secretary, we are here according to the task by our Presidents.

President Putin and President Duterte had a meeting in Kremlin two days ago in the situation where President of the Philippines had to interrupt his stay in Russia — to shorten his stay in Russia due to major violent incidents caused by the terrorist organizations in the southern parts of your country.

I would like to once again reiterate our solidarity with the leadership of the Philippines, with the nation of Philippines and to express our sympathies and condolences to those who were hurt.

As the Presidents have discussed the documents prepared for the summit were supposed to be signed and with satisfaction between our states that nine important documents are signed between the government of the Russian Federation and the government of the Philippines.

We are talking about the agreements of cooperation in the sphere of defense, memorandums of cooperation in the sphere of nuclear energy, transportation, investment, industry, cultural and artistic affairs — agreements on tourism as well as the agreement on the consultations between our ministries and our countries.

As well as other important documents and preparing their final stageson the military and technical cooperation and cooperation between our law enforcement.

So we can surely say that the visit of President Duterte to the Russian Federation indeed provide an important impetus in development of stable relationships between our countries.

Thank you once again to you and your colleagues’ support during this work together with us. Thank you.

SECRETARY CAYETANO: Your Excellency, I am very pleased to meet you again. We cannot thank you enough for your excellent preparations and warm hospitality extended to the delegation of President Duterte.

It’s unfortunate that the development in Mindanao absolutely requires the presence of President Duterte in the Philippines. He was sad to cut short his trip to Russia as he was very much looking forward to this visit for several months.

Allow us to express the gratitude of President Duterte and the Filipino people for your understanding of the situation.

Please accept our gratitude to President Putin for his statesmanship and generosity in rearranging his schedule in order to be able to meet President Duterte given the crisis situation in the Philippines.

On a personal note, Your Excellency, this is my first country to visit as Secretary of Foreign Affairs and it is such an honor. And it is further an honor because I am sitting with a giant or a legend in the international relations and diplomacy. So thank you for inviting us, Your Excellency.

MINISTER LAVROV: You are flattering me.

SECRETARY CAYETANO: We Filipinos only speak the truth. [laughter] Sometimes too blunt, talk the truth.

MINISTER LAVROV:  Thank you in any case.

SECRETARY CAYETANO: Your Excellency, I want to reiterate the President’s commitment to strengthen the relations between Russia and the Philippines in many areas.

A commitment to forge true friendship and real brotherhood between Russians and Filipinos.

The President instructed me and Cabinet members especially from the economic cluster to remain in Russia and to continue with several planned events and to sign the agreements.

Current developments in Mindanao where ISIS involvement is suspected, support our common desire to strengthen security and intelligence cooperation and make this a safer world for all of our people.

So let me again express our gratitude for Russia’s offer to share your expertise, experience and vast knowledge in the field of security and fighting terrorism.

We will look forward and make preparations to welcoming Prime Minister Medvedev in the Manila in November of this year for the East Asia Summit.

And I personally hope that our President Duterte will still be able to visit Russia in some other time.

MINISTER LAVROV: I can assure you that we’ll be happy to see him anytime.

I would like to reiterate our commitment to working together in security sphere, in fighting terrorism or fighting drug trafficking and other matters.

SECRETARY CAYETANO: Thank you, Your Excellency.