By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
ALLIES. President Rodrigo Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a 30-minute conversation on Tuesday (April 13, 2021). They agreed on the importance of cooperation among nations to defeat the pandemic, according to Sen. Bong Go (left). (Photo courtesy Sen. Bong Go)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – President Rodrigo Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telesummit on Tuesday afternoon and discussed ways to help each nation defeat the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Malacañang confirmed. In a statement, the Palace said Duterte’s “open and productive” phone conversation with Putin lasted around 30 minutes. “President Duterte and President Putin reaffirmed their shared commitment to further enhance cooperation as the Philippines and Russia commemorate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year and vowed to cooperate in the fight against Covid-19,” the Palace statement read. It was on June 2,1976 when the Philippines forged formal diplomatic ties with the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Malacañang said Duterte was thankful to Putin for Russia’s commitment to bolster its cooperation with the Philippines in combatting the Covid-19 pandemic.
The two leaders discussed the global and regional vaccine landscapes and emphasized the need to mobilize Covid-19 vaccines like Russia’s Sputnik V to “as many countries as possible”, the Palace said.
Malacañang added that Duterte told Putin about the Philippines’ plan to order 20 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine from Russia.
“Both leaders stressed the importance of ramping up global production and supplies,” the Palace said. “President Duterte and President Putin underscored the need for continuing and strengthened collaboration to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The Philippines is expected to receive around 500,000 Sputnik V vaccines this month.
‘Greater’ cooperation in other areas
Malacañang said Duterte and Putin also tackled the two countries’ “greater” cooperation in various fields like defense and cooperation, trade and investments, agriculture, energy, and politics.
“Both leaders also noted the steady progress in defense and security cooperation between the two countries, fostered by regular exchanges between defense, intelligence and military agencies, and vowed to sustain the momentum gained over the past five years,” it said.
The Palace said Putin stressed the “positive trajectory” of Russia’ relations with the Philippines.
The Russian leader also noted the “many opportunities for greater cooperation in the fields of trade and investments, agriculture and energy development even as both countries work on further enhancing political-security cooperation.”
Duterte also reiterated his invitation for Putin to visit the Philippines “as soon as circumstances allow.”
Malacañang said Putin welcomed Duterte’s renewed invitation.
In December last year, Duterte invited Putin to go the Philippines. In case it pushes through, it will be his first trip to the Philippines.
Duterte, on the other hand, visited Russia in 2017 and 2019.
Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Senator Christopher Lawrence Go were present during the teleconference, the Palace said. (PNA)