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Duterte to visit ‘significant spots’ in Israel: DFA

Duterte to visit ‘significant spots’ in Israel: DFA
By Azer Parrocha
MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte will be visiting “significant spots” during his trip to Israel from September 2 to 5, 2018, a Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) official said on Thursday.

DFA Undersecretary Ernesto Abella said he could not reveal the exact places to be visited by the President but hinted that these will be spots that are deemed important.

“I'm sure that he will be visiting. I cannot give you the specifics of where he'll be going -- exactly where. But he will be -- he will be visiting significant spots,” Abella said in a pre-departure briefing in Malacañang.

Abella was also tight-lipped on Duterte’s itinerary saying that it has yet to be outlined.

He expressed confidence that Duterte’s visit to Israel will not affect Philippine relations with countries that do not recognize or maintain diplomatic relations with Israel.

“At this stage we have, as we said, we have multilateral relations and as we pointed out, we are friends to all and enemies to none. And this should not serve as any obstacle with our ongoing bilateral relationships with each of these nations,” Abella said.

“We are aware of certain sensitivities but I believe we have reached a stage of maturity in our relations that they understand each one of our -- each one of them. For example, those host countries with whom we consider partners, they are aware also that we are in relationship with other nations, for example, like Israel. So it is important that we strike a balance,” he added.

Abella said the President has proven that it is possible to have an independent foreign policy while satisfying the demands and needs of each particular relation.

Meanwhile, Abella defended how Duterte chose to include military and police executives in his trips to Israel, noting that aside from being a “gift”, they would also be exposed to developments in their respective fields of expertise.

“I think it was meant to be a gift. But actually, they will also be exposed to recent -- to the latest developments pertaining to their areas of expertise,” Abella said.

“I believe the Philippine embassy is arranging some exposure trips for these gentlemen,” he added.

Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also said that there was nothing wrong with retiring military and police executives joining the President’s trip describing it as “a gesture for appreciation.”

“Well, including them, of course, as a part of gesture for appreciation is part of the reason why they will be joining the trip,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

“But obviously, for security personnel, a trip to Israel would entail collaborating and mingling with security forces of Israel in order for our men in uniform to benefit from the experience of Israel, particularly in their drive against extremism and terrorism,” he added.

Roque, meanwhile, said military and police officials are expected to have separate meetings with their Israeli counterparts.

After his trip to Israel, Duterte will also be visiting Jordan from September 6 to 8 upon the invitation of his Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan. (PNA)

Duterte to visit ‘significant spots’ in Israel: DFA Duterte to visit ‘significant spots’ in Israel: DFA Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 11:05:00 AM Rating: 5

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