UNITED Kingdom Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad has advised the Philippines to be objective in fostering closer relations with Russia.
President Rodrigo Duterte has been heaping praises on Moscow led by his “idol” Vladimir Putin.
Duterte expressed desire to join a “new world order” dominated by Russia and China as he moves Manila away from its long-time ally, the United States.
The British envoy said while it is alright to engage with Russia economically, the Philippine leader must remember and understand that Moscow spawned conflicts around the world.
“You cannot cherry-pick the positive attributes of a country and ignore the rest,” Ahmad said in a recent forum.
He advised the President to “fact-check” his narratives.
“I heard President Duterte very, very specifically talk about the bombings in Syria,” Ahmad noted. “Well, please fact-check. The bombings in Aleppo are entirely Russian.”
He said, “If you check the history books, you’ll see Afghanistan was invaded by Russia, and al-Qaeda was born out of that conflict, and the consequences of that have gone global, including here in the Philippines.”
Ahmad was referring to the proliferation of terrorism activities of the Abu Sayyaf Group that was due to the funding of the al-Qaeda group.
The ambassador said, “So what was spawned by Russian intervention in Afghanistan, we’re paying the price for it today in Mindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Manila…”
Ahmad, nonetheless, said the UK does not begrudge Duterte in reaching out to Russia, saying Moscow has actually a lot to offer in terms of trade and tourism.
He added that the Philippines should engage diplomatically and economically with as many countries as possible with objectivity in setting up the terms under which these relations are undertaken.