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Secretary of National Defense Lorenzana Visits Moscow

Amid freezing temperature in Moscow, Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had warm discussions with Russian Deputy Minister of Defense Anatoly Antonov on how to promote Philippine-Russia defense relations, with the two officials having the shared sense that it is equally beneficial for the two countries to enhance their defense ties. And to maintain the momentum, they agreed to convene a working group early next year to flesh out the specific activities particularly on exchanges between the two defense ministries and their respective militaries.

Also discussed was the importance of having a framework of cooperation. Thus, both delegations committed to finalize the proposed PH-Russia Agreement on Defense Cooperation so it could be signed during the President’s visit in Moscow in April 2017. At the moment, both sides are working on a draft which resulted from the PH-Russia Informal Meeting last 25 August 2016 in Manila.

At the end of the interaction, Secretary Lorenzana personally handed his invitation for Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu to attend the 4th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)-Plus to be hosted by the Philippines in October 2017. Stressing that the minister's attendance would manifest Russia’s strong support for Philippine ASEAN Chairmanship, Secretary Lorenzana accepted Russia’s invitation for the SND to participate in the Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) slated to be held in April 2017.

Secretary Lorenzana likewise had discussions with the Director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation regarding collaboration on the areas of logistics and armaments while Secretary of Foreign Affairs Perfecto Yasay was having consultations with Russia’s foreign ministry officials. Both secretaries were in Moscow in preparation for the President’s visit next year.

Included in the SND’s delegation were Defense Assistant Secretary for Assessments and International Affairs Raymund Quilop and the Senior Military Assistant to the SND Brigadier General Arnel Duco. Joining the SFA were foreign affairs Undersecretary for Policy Enrique Manalo and Asec for European Affairs Cleofe Natividad.