Phl-Rus­sia de­fense of­fi­cials con­vene JWG

The Philippine Star - - NEWS - By JAIME LAUDE

Philip­pine and Rus­sian de­fense of­fi­cials con­vened a Joint Work­ing Group (JWG) in Moscow on Fri­day, paving the way for the con­duct of in­creased de­fense and mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary en­gage­ments be­tween the two coun­tries start­ing next year.

The de­fense meet­ing, the sec­ond since the forg­ing last year of a de­fense co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment be­tween the Philip­pines and the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion, led to the sign­ing of the terms of ref­er­ence of the JWG.

“The JWG serves as a plat­form for both coun­ties to dis­cuss mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary en­gage­ments or ac­tiv­i­ties,” a state­ment re­leased yes­ter­day by de­fense spokesman Arse­nio An­do­long said.

The Moscow meet­ing was in ac­cor­dance with the 2017 Agree­ment on De­fense Co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the De­part­ment of Na­tional De­fense (DND) of the Philip­pines and the Min­istry of De­fense (MOD) of the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion.

At the meet­ing, As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary for as­sess­ments and in­ter­na­tional af­fairs Teodoro Cir­ilo Tor­ralba III and Col. Maxim Vladimirovich Penkin agreed to con­duct high­level de­fense and mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary en­gage­ments next year.

“Both sides agreed to con­duct in 2019 high-level ex­changes, port vis­its of Navy ves­sels, at­ten­dance in con­fer­ences/fora, gen­eral staff con­sul­ta­tions, co­op­er­a­tion and se­cu­rity con­sul­ta­tions, re­cip­ro­cal vis­its of del­e­ga­tions and ob­servers for mil­i­tary train­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing ex­changes,” An­do­long said.

Ear­lier, Rus­sian Am­bas­sador Igor Kho­vaev de­clared that with the highly-im­proved re­la­tions be­tween Moscow and Manila, his coun­try is more than will­ing to pro­vide the Philip­pines with key mil­i­tary plat­forms in line with the on­go­ing mod­ern­iza­tion of the Armed Forces of the Philip­pines.

Kho­vaev said the Rus­sian mil­i­tary is open to joint ex­er­cises with their Filipino coun­ter­parts, a yearly event that is be­ing held in the Philip­pines be­tween Filipino and Amer­i­can troops, as well as other al­lied states. Kho­vaev is­sued the re­mark dur­ing a wel­come cer­e­mony early this month for the re­turn­ing Philip­pine Navy con­tin­gent aboard the BRP Tar­lac, which came from a five-day his­toric port visit to Vladis­vos­tok.

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