Philippines’ Duterte on official visit to Israel, Jordan

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his State of the Nation address at the House of Representatives in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines July 23, 2018. REUTERS/Czar Dancel

MANILA (Xinhua) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte left on Sunday for a week-long official visits to Israel and Jordan.

Mr Duterte will first visit Israel from September 2 to 5 and then Jordan from September 5 to 8.

Mr Duterte is the first Philippine leader to visit Israel since the two countries established ties in 1957.

Mr Duterte is expected to sit down with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel and King Abdullah II in Jordan.

“My schedule will be full. I shall seek to reaffirm the ties between our peoples made more significant by a meaningful shared history,” Mr Duterte said in a departure speech at Manila’s international airport.

Mr Duterte said he is looking forward to having a “robust relationship” with Israel that aims to broader cooperation on a range of mutually important areas such as defense and security, law enforcement, economic development, labour, trade and investments.

On Sept. 5, Mr Duterte will fly to Jordan – a first for a Philippine leader.

“Certainly, I look forward to discussing ways of advancing cooperation in the key areas of improving defense and security, sustaining growth, addressing transnational crime, intensifying trade and investments and enhancing labor cooperation,” Mr Duterte said, adding he will also meet with Filipinos in Jordan and Israel.

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