Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"The President is pursuing the mandate of the 1987 Constitution of being friends with everybody." —Yasay

 MANILA, Philippines — A military alliance between the Philippines and Russia will not work at this time and age, the country's top diplomat said on Tuesday.

"It will not happen," Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said, recalling his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last month.

At a news conference following their meeting in Moscow last December, the two foreign ministers were asked about the possibility of the Philippines and Russia entering into a military alliance.

Lavrov said that Russia will be engaging with the Philippines in the area of defense cooperation "where we feel will be more realistic and for our benefit and contributing to the peace and stability of the world."


Yasay added that the Philippines is not contemplating on having any military alliance with Russia, China or any other country.

Asked about the role of Russia in the Philippines' independent foreign policy, Yasay said that the administration is only pursuing the mandate of the 1987 Constitution or "being friends with everybody."

"Our interest with Russia is encompassing in the same way that our interest with China is also encompassing," the Foreign Affairs chief said.

Yasay admitted that he had biases against Russia prior to his trip in Moscow last month.

"I was going to Russia with the mindset somehow that could not be dissociated with the Soviet Union but when I went to Russia all of these biases were gone," Yasay said.

Meanwhile, an analyst noted that Russia's offer to sell small arms is relevant to the government's goal of equipping the Philippine Army.

"This cooperation may be mutually beneficial: Russia makes sales and the Armed Forces of the Philippines gets a ready source of weapons," Stratbase Albert Del Rosario Institute deputy executive director Angelica Mangahas said.

Source: philstar.com

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