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Rights, terror on Tillerson’s agenda in meeting with Duterte

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will meet with President Duterte today in Malacañang, the Palace press office announced.

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Julie Bishop, Australia’s minister of foreign affairs, will also pay a courtesy call on the President.

Both the United States and Australia are providing assistance to the Armed Forces of the Philippines in its efforts to retake Marawi City from Islamic State-inspired terrorists.

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Tillerson was expected to raise concerns about human rights in the Philippines and discuss the crisis in Marawi when he meets with Filipino officials, US Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton said in Washington on Wednesday.

Mr. Duterte has come under fire from human rights activists here and abroad for the alleged extrajudicial killings in the government’s war on illegal drugs.

“We share the belief that no country has a perfect human rights situation. We welcome the opportunity to address their concerns and correct the perceptions they may have gleaned from exaggerated media reports,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Friday.

Tillerson arrived in Manila on Saturday to participate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Regional Forum.

The US Embassy said he would also participate in the East Asia Summit Ministerial, the US-Asean Ministerial, and the Lower Mekong Initiative Ministerial.

“During these meetings, Secretary Tillerson will meet with his counterparts and discuss a range of issues, including the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, maritime security and counterterrorism,” the embassy said in a statement.

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TAGS: ASEAN, counterterrorism, extrajudicial killings, Human Rights Abuses, Marawi siege, Rex Tillerson, Rodrigo Duterte, Susan Thornton, war on drugs
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