Duterte tells Obama ‘you can go to hell’

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

MANILA (AP): HILIPPINE LEADER Ro­drigo Duterte told Pres­i­dent Barack Obama “you can go to hell” in a speech Tues­day that was his strong­est tirade so far against the US over its crit­i­cism of his deadly an­tidrug cam­paign, adding that he may even­tu­ally de­cide to “break up with Amer­ica”.

He also lashed out anew at the Euro­pean Union, say­ing the bloc, which has also crit­i­cised his bru­tal crack­down, “bet­ter choose pur­ga­tory, hell is filled up”.

Since be­com­ing pres­i­dent in June, Duterte has had an un­easy re­la­tion­ship with the US and with Obama and has de­clared in­ten­tions to bol­ster re­la­tions with China and Rus­sia as he re­vamps Philip­pine for­eign pol­icy that has long leaned on Washington.

The brash-speak­ing leader also has been hy­per­sen­si­tive to crit­i­cism over his anti-drug crack­down,


which has left more than an es­ti­mated 3,000 sus­pected drug deal­ers and push­ers dead in just three months, alarm­ing the United Na­tions, the EU, the US and hu­man-rights watch­dogs.

In a speech be­fore a lo­cal con­ven­tion at­tended by of­fi­cials and busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives, Duterte out­lined his dis­ap­point­ments with the US, which has asked his gov­ern­ment to stop the wide­spread killings and has ques­tioned whether hu­man rights are be­ing vi­o­lated. He also de­scribed Washington as an un­re­li­able ally, say­ing Filipino forces have not ben­e­fited from joint com­bat ex­er­cises with US troops.

“In­stead of help­ing us, the first to crit­i­cise is this State Depart­ment, so you can go to hell, Mr Obama, you can go to hell,” Duterte said. Then ad­dress­ing the EU, he said: “Bet­ter choose pur­ga­tory, hell is filled up.”

In a later speech at a syn­a­gogue in Makati city in the Manila me­trop­o­lis, Duterte warned he may de­cide to “break up with Amer­ica” in his most se­ri­ous threat so far to push re­la­tions back with Washington.

“Even­tu­ally I might, in my time, I will break up with Amer­ica,” he said with­out elab­o­rat­ing. “I would rather go to Rus­sia and to China.”

In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tues­day that the US had not re­ceived any of­fi­cial re­quest from Duterte or any other Philip­pine of­fi­cial to al­ter any as­pect of bilateral co­op­er­a­tion.


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