RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrived in Riyadh late Monday evening, April 10 (Riyadh time), for a two-day state visit that aims to boost ties between the two countries.
Duterte arrived in Saudi Arabia at 9:43 pm, Riyadh time, or 2:43 am of Tuesday, April 11, in Manila.
Philippine Consul General to Riyadh Iric Arribas said the Philippines and Saudi Arabia aim to forge at least 3 agreements during Duterte’s visit.
These deals include the following:
- an agreement to protect overseas Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia
- an agreement between the two countries’ foreign ministries to regularly discuss areas of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the Philippines
- an agreement between the two countries’ diplomatic academies to explore areas of cooperation
Arribas also said the Philippines wants to enlist Saudi Arabia’s help against the illegal drug trade. This is one of the topics that the embassy proposed to take up during Duterte’s state visit.
Saudi Arabia is known for its hardline stance against illegal drugs. (READ: OFW supporter: Duterte will kill for peace? Same in Saudi Arabia)
Arribas said the two countries, for one, can help each other in the “sharing of intelligence information” and in “capacity building of anti-drug enforcement agencies.”
“When you talk about drugs, it’s not just a domestic issue. It’s a transnational issue,” Arribas explained.
Duterte’s schedule in Saudi Arabia includes a meeting with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Riyadh on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, April 12, Duterte is set to meet the Filipino community in Riyadh before flying to Bahrain then Qatar. – Rappler.com
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