Philippines holds bilateral meeting with Russia

President Benigno S. Aquino III and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev held bilateral talks on November 18, on the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center.

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The two leaders discussed the whole gamut of Philippines-Russia bilateral relations, including political dialogue, trade and investments, combating illegal narcotics, defense and security, education, humanitarian assistance, and cultural cooperation.

President Aquino acknowledged the importance of the meeting in facilitating progress in bilateral relations, especially with the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Establishment of Philippines-Russia Diplomatic Relations, and the upcoming political consultations next year. At the same time, Aquino called for a more balanced and enhanced two-way trade with Russia, as well as more investments from Russia—particularly in the areas of information technology and business process management, processed food, and energy.

Prime Minister Medvedev, for his part, called the Philippines a “promising and very important partner in the Asia-Pacific region.” In this regard, he urged the Philippines and Russia to “step up the pace” of their bilateral cooperation in the fields of energy, telecommunications, agriculture, transportation, and construction.

President Aquino took the opportunity to convey his message of sympathy and solidarity with the Government and people of the Russian Federation for the crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 over the Sinai Peninsula on October 31, 2015.

After their meeting, President Aquino and Prime Minister Medvedev witnessed the signing of two legal instruments, the Agreement on the Establishment of a Philippines-Russia Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation and the Memorandum on Combating New Psychoactive Substances.  The agreements are intended to forge closer institutional cooperation between the Philippines and Russia in promoting trade and investments and in combating illegal narcotics.

The bilateral meeting was the first between President Aquino and Prime Minister Medvedev. Prime Minister Medvedev was also making his first ever trip to the Philippines and the first for any Russian Head of Government in 17 years.

– From the Department of Foreign Affairs