PH seeks stronger ties with 3 Middle East countries

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 April) – The Philippines will seek stronger cooperation with the three countries i n the Middle East – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain , and Qatar – in the areas of trade and investments and security, .President Rodrigo R. Duterte said Monday.

Duterte will visit Saudi Arabia from April 10 to 12, Bahrain from April 12 to 14, and Qatar from April14 to 16.

In his departure speech at the F. Bangoy International Airport (formely, Davao International Airport), Duterte said his state visit to the three Gulf states seeks to forge “deeper, more meaningful, and more positive engagements in the Middle East,” being the global source of fuel, source of investments, expanding market for key Philippine products, and home to overseas Filipino workers.

In Saudi Arabia, Duterte will meet King Salman bid Abdulaziz Al Saud to “reaffirm a lasting friendship and to seek ways of further broadening cooperation, particularly in politico-security and defense, trade and investments, anti-narcotics, labor, energy, education, and culture.”

The president will meet King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain to expand cooperation in trade and investments, and seek greater politico-security cooperation and exchange.

From Bahrain, Duterte will head for Doha, Qatar to meet Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to explore “more vibrant” bilateral relations in the areas of politico-security cooperation, health and cutlure, and trade and investment.

Duterte said he will also seek support from these leaders for the country’s peace efforts in Mindanao.

He said he would exchange views with them on regional security issues, and promote intercultural dialogue and the Philippines’ efforts at community building in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Philippines is chairing the ASEAN this year.

Duterte added that he will meet with the Filipino communities in the Middle East.

“I am excited to see them and to thank them for their support for our efforts to bring reform and change in our country. As I have done in past visits, I will report the progress immediately upon my return to the Philippines,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)