Palace: Putin calls Aquino to discuss non-attendance at Apec
Malacañang on Friday confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally phoned President Benigno Aquino III to explain his decision not to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit to be held in Manila next week.
“I can confirm that President Vladimir Putin called President Aquino last night to discuss matters related to the Philippines and Russia bilateral cooperation, and, of course, about the participation of Russia in the APEC Summit here in Manila in the coming days,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a Palace briefing.
“President Putin also discussed with President Aquino the reasons for his inability to attend the APEC Summit to which President Aquino replied that he understood fully well the issues that are confronting the Russian government, and that he also understands the need [for] President Putin to stay in his country to ensure that the reasons behind some of their domestic issues are fully investigated and threshed out,” she added.
Valte also confirmed earlier reports that Russia will be represented by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev during the Apec Summit.
Meanwhile, she said Indonesian President Joko Widodo has yet to formally confirm his non-attendance.
“We are awaiting formal confirmation from our friends in the Indonesian government on their representative to be sent to the summit next week,” Valte said. “It is quite regretful that President Joko Widodo will [most likely] be unable to attend the summit. We understand that the pressing matters back home require his immediate attention.”
Foreign Undersecretary Laura del Rosario earlier said Widodo might be focusing on the haze caused by forest fires in Indonesia. The haze has affected neighboring countries, including the Philippines.
Valte said among the reasons cited by Putin was the crashing of a Russian jetliner that killed 224 people.
“The President (Aquino) did extend his understanding on the loss of life and recognize fully well that it is a cause for concern for President Putin,” she explained. RAM
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