By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte will embark on historic visits to Israel and Jordan next month amid efforts to enhance the country’s relations with these two nations.
The President will pay an official visit to Israel from September 2 to 5 upon the invitation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque.
Roque also confirmed that the President is expected to travel to Jordan following his trip to Israel. He said the Palace would release details of the President’s trip to Jordan, which has recently offered two military helicopters to the Philippines.
In his upcoming official visit to Israel, the President is expected to hold bilateral talks with Netanyahu and witness the signing of several cooperation agreements, Roque said.
This is the first visit of a Philippine leader to Israel since diplomatic relations were established between the two countries in 1957.
“The President and Prime Minister Netanyahu are expected to discuss common concerns and ways of expanding cooperation in the areas of labor, tourism, trade, agriculture, counterterrorism, and security and law enforcement,” Roque said.
He said the President would also hold talks with President Reuven Rivlin of Israel to discuss development cooperation and the close historical and people-to-people ties between the two countries.
“The historic visit will highlight the enduring friendship between Filipinos and Israelis, which began when President Manuel L. Quezon opened the doors of the Philippines as a sanctuary to an estimated 1,300 Jewish refugees who were fleeing the Holocaust,” he said.
Apart from Israel’s government leaders, the President is also expected to conduct separate meetings with the businessmen and Filipino community in Israel.
Meantime, the President’s visit to Kuwait is still being finalized.
“I understand they are working on a date as far as Kuwait is concerned… sinabi rin month of September,” Roque said.
The President earlier said he wanted to make a quick visit to Kuwait to express gratitude to its government for the agreement providing additional protection for Filipino workers there.