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DAVAO CITY — Russia’s ambassador to the Philippines met with incoming President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday evening and discussed with the presumptive President-elect ways to strengthen the cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Philippines.
Igor Khovaev who flew in to Davao City, said Wednesday that he was “deeply impressed” by Duterte.
“It was very productive,” Khovaev said in describing his meeting with Duterte.  He said their discussion would jumpstart a better partnership.


Khovaev said that he was happy that he and Duterte agreed that bilateral cooperation in many areas would be quite productive for the two countries.
“It is time for Russians to discover the Philippines, and it is time for the Philippines to discover Russia,” Khovaev said.
Khovaev disclosed that strengthened trade cooperation would begin before the end of this year.
“Export of tropical fruits is very promising, including mango, banana and durian,” Khovaev said, telling reporters that a big market in Russia has been waiting for Philippine produce, considering that tropical fruits could not be grown in their country.
With the continuing threat of terrorism across the globe, the Russian ambassador said that he and Duterte discussed ways to boost military cooperation.
“The struggle against terror and threats continues,” Khovaev said, adding that the Abu Sayyaf and the Islamic State were mentioned during the meeting.
“All of us should combine all our efforts. We can share experiences as well as information,” the Russian ambassador added.
Khovaev said that the possible procurement of military hardware was mentioned but they did not delve into details.
“The Russian federation is open to discuss any option. We on the Russian side is open to explore any mutual cooperation,” Khovaev said.
The Russian ambassador expressed his appreciation for the potentials of a partnership between the Philippines and Russia,considering that there have been no confilicts between them.
“Our relations are really friendly. There are no disputes and no contradictions,” Khovaev said.
He disclosed that the Russian delegation and Duterte  “discussed fundamental issues and the principles” on how to pursue cooperation.
“What is needed now is to develop cooperation in practical terms,” Khovaev said.  SFM

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