President Rodrigo Duterte and United States President Donald Trump did not discuss human rights issues during their bilateral meeting on Monday, Malacañang said.
“The issue of human rights did not arise, was not brought up,” according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
Roque, however, said Mr. Duterte discussed with Trump the issue of illegal drugs in the Philippines and that the US President “appeared sympathetic” on the matter.
“It was President Duterte, who discussed with US President Trump the drug menace in the Philippines,” Roque noted.
“The US President appeared sympathetic and did not have any official position on the matter. He was merely nodding his head, indicating that he understood the domestic problem that we face on drugs,” he also said.
According to Roque, the two leaders had a “frank” discussion, as both affirmed “very close ties” between the United States and the Philippines.
Aside from illegal drugs, Roque said there was also a discussion on trade.
He said Duterte “also thanked the Americans on the assistance they extended, particularly on the area of communication, during the Marawi conflict.”
Trump was all praises for Duterte during the bilateral meeting as he cited his great relationship with the Philippine leader.
“We’ve had a great relationship. This has been very successful,” Trump told Duterte.
Roque said Trump assured Duterte that the US was a friend of the Philippines.
“President Trump specifically said that he has always been a friend of the Duterte administration unlike the previous administrations of the United States,” Roque said.
“But he stressed that he can be counted upon as a friend of the Duterte administration,’ he added.
The meeting between the two leaders lasted for about 40 minutes. /kga
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