EU invites Duterte to visit Europe
The European Union (EU) Delegation to the Philippines said on Wednesday that it invited President Rodrigo Duterte for an official visit to Europe.
EU Ambassador Franz Jessen said that the Delegation had sent the invitation to Malacañang on Tuesday, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), for President Duterte to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-EU Meeting (Asem) scheduled this October.
“I think I could tell you that [we just] sent the invitation yesterday to President so we don’t have a reply yet,” Jessen said at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay news forum.
Jessen told reporters that there is no final word yet on whether the Philippines and the EU would hold a closed-door meeting during the visit.
“It depends if the two sides are asking for it. Usually, there will be but it will depend on the time, convenience, and so on,” he added.
Jessen further said that it would also depend on President Duterte if he would want to schedule meetings with EU officials before or after the Asem.
The invitation came amid the strain in diplomatic relations between the EU and the Philippines after some European lawmakers criticized the Duterte administration’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs.
In October 2017, Mr. Duterte asked EU envoys in the Philippines to leave the country “in 24 hours” after a group of European parliamentarian condemned the so-called “drug war” efforts of the Duterte government.
Duterte also said that the Philippines would not accept aid from the bloc because of its disapproval on the government’s anti-illegal drugs drive, which has been marred with human rights issues. /kga
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