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DAVAO /Philippines/, May 22. /TASS/. Manila is interested in buying small arms, helicopters and jets from Moscow, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said in an interview with Russian journalists ahead of his visit to Russia.
"We are just fighting a rebellion, just like in Russia. They are just a few in numbers but they can create a havoc," Duterte said. "You do not need hardware to do that but you need intelligence and precision-guided weapons. It’s just small arms and rockets that can really hit with accuracy," he added. Besides, in the Philippine president’s words, "what is very important in (fighting) an insurgency is helicopters or jets." "Less expensive but more effective for fighting small numbers of terrorists in areas of conflict," Duterte pointed out.
"We need the arms because we are facing two serious problems, terrorists and drugs," he said. According to the Philippine president, Washington used to supply weapons to Manila but he did not want to deal with the United States anymore "because they were questioning the human rights practices in the country."
Manila is open for defense alliances with Moscow and Beijing, according to Duterte.
"When I was elected, I said there will be a time when I would not want to see any, not only American, any foreign military in my country," he said. "As for defense, if the situation all over the world becomes topsy-turvy with ISIS, I would be not really forced, but I would be open to a defense alliance," the Philippine president added. According to him, "it is only Russia and China who can be relied (on)."
Duterte also said that he did not want the US troops in his country because he wanted Philippines to be treated with respect as a sovereign state.
The Kremlin press service reported earlier that Russian President Vladimir Putin would meet with Duterte on May 25.
The two presidents will discuss the current state of bilateral relations and the prospects for political, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation. "The parties are expected to exchange views on pressing global and regional issues, focusing on the ways to ensure stability and security in the Asian-Pacific region," the Kremlin press service said. A joint statement is expected to be adopted and a number of bilateral documents will be signed.