Du30 to Obama: Listen to me, then we can talk
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he’s ready to discuss any issues with US President Barack Obama when they meet in Laos next week, but said the American leaders should listen to him before bringing up the question of human rights.
“They must understand the problem first before we talk about human rights. I would insist, listen to me: this is what the problem is, then we can talk,” Duterte said in an interview Wednesday.
Duterte is set to meet Obama on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit on Sept. 6 in Laos.
“[Obama can bring up] any topic at all. I am ready to talk to him,” he added.
The White House on Thursday said that the two world leaders will be meeting next week despite concerns over a war on crime that has claimed more than 2,000 lives.
Aside from Obama, Duterte will also meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Mondi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Duterte expressed his interest in meeting the Russian leader.
“I’m looking forward in meeting him, he relates to me very well,” he said.
Duterte will embark on a one-week Asean tour from Sept. 4 to 9, with the highlight being his attendance to the Asean summit in Laos.
The President will also take side trips to visit Brunei and Indonesia to talk to the Filipino communities there.
Obama had earlier spoken by telephone to then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte shortly after he won the presidency in the May 9 elections, hailing the country’s “vibrant democracy” and emphasizing the importance of “protecting human rights.”
In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs conveyed the President’s interest in meeting with Obama.
“The President looks forward to meeting with US President Barack Obama to reaffirm the strength and depth of the Philippines-US treaty alliance and the extraordinary ties between the Filipino and American peoples,” the department said in a statement released Wednesday .
“The President will take the opportunity to communicate his firm advocacy to improve the peace and order situation in the country, especially towards eradicating the scourge of illicit drugs and the menace of terrorism,” the statement added.
DFA spokesman Charles Jose said the meeting will be a good opportunity for the newly elected President to share with the outgoing executive of the US his vision for the country and his “10-point governance agenda” that will sustain the country’s strong economy and improving the quality of life.