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Duterte, Saudi prince discuss security ties, OFW welfare

/ 07:03 AM March 20, 2018

President Duterte gives a token to Saudi Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif. —MALACAÑANG PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte discussed the need to broaden cooperation between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia, especially in security and in promoting the rights and welfare of Filipinos, when he welcomed Saudi Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif in Malacañang on Monday.

The prince said Saudi Arabia was ready to help the Philippines fight terrorism.

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Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Mr. Duterte and the Saudi prince had “warm and cordial talks” during the latter’s courtesy call in the Palace.

Cooperation in key areas

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They discussed a range of topics and promised to cooperate in key areas.

“The President said there is a need to expand cooperation across many fields, especially in security, trade and investment, as well as in promoting the rights, safety and well-being of Filipinos,” Roque said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia is one of the Middle Eastern countries that host Filipino workers, many of whom work as domestic helpers and are vulnerable to abuse.

Prince Abdulaziz, who is also Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Interior, congratulated the Philippines for its victory in Marawi City after ending a five-month siege by Islamic State-allied militants.

‘Decisive action’

“The Prince conveyed the deep respect of the Saudi King for the President’s strong and decisive action that led to the liberation of Marawi from extremists and terrorists,” Roque said.

“The Prince conveyed the readiness of [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] to combat violent extremism and terrorism,” he added.

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He said the prince also sent Mr. Duterte the warm wishes of King Salman, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The Philippines remains important to Saudi Arabia, he added.

Mr. Duterte hosted a luncheon with a Filipino-inspired menu for the Saudi prince after the courtesy call.

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TAGS: Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif, Rodrigo Duterte, Saudi Arabia-Philippines relations
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