Duterte to visit Israel, Jordan

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FILE photo of President Rodrigo R. Duterte delivering his speech during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge and Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge in Intramuros, Manila on July 17, 2018. -- ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

MALACAÑANG confirmed on Tuesday that President Rodrigo R. Duterte will also visit Jordan after his visit to Israel in September.

In a press briefing at the Palace, Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said Mr. Duterte “has accepted the invitation of the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu to visit the State of Israel from 02 to 05 September 2018.”

“I can also confirm that after the Israeli visit, the President will also fly to Jordan — although a separate press release will be written for that purpose,” he added.

Also on Tuesday, a Palace advisory confirmed that the President is set to meet with Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Shiekh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani at Malacañang Palace on Wednesday, Aug. 15.

Mr. Roque also said the official visit to Israel “will be the first by a Philippine President since diplomatic ties were established between the two countries 61 years ago in 1957.”

He said the “historic event will highlight the enduring friendship between Filipinos and Israelis which began when Manuel L. Quezon opened the doors of the Philippines as a sanctuary to an estimated 1,300 Jewish refugees who were fleeing the Holocaust.”

Messrs. Duterte and Netanyahu “are expected to discuss common concerns and ways of expanding cooperation in the areas of labor, tourism, trade, agriculture, counter terrorism, security and law enforcement,” Mr. Roque also said.

“The President will also meet with the President of Israel Reuven Rivlin to discuss development cooperation and the close historical and people-to-people ties between the two countries. A business delegation representing different sectors of Philippine economy will join the visit and participate in a business forum to be keynoted by the President. Several agreements are expected to be signed during the visit,” he added.

“Finally, the President will meet members of the Filipino community while there,” Mr. Roque said.