Conference Dedicated to the 45th Anniversary of Russia-Philippines Diplomatic Relations

Conference Dedicated to the 45th Anniversary of Russia-Philippines Diplomatic Relations

25 May 2021

On May 25, ASEAN Centre in MGIMO University in cooperation with with Foreign Service Institute of the Philippines held an online Conference Dedicated to the 45th Anniversary of Russia-Philippines Diplomatic Relations.

The conference agenda covered a wide range of bilateral relations issues, such as political and security, interparliamentary cooperation, trade, and economy, culture and people-to people contacts. The sessions were moderated by Dr. Ekaterina Koldunova, ASEAN Centre Acting Director, Associate Professor at the Department of Asian and African Studies, and Ms. Luningning G. Camoying, Deputy Chief of Presidential Protocol in Charge of Substantial Matters, Office of Presidential Protocol of the Philippines.

In her opening remarks H.E. Elizabeth Buensuceso, Undersecretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, highlighted the landmarks in bilateral relations history and charted its prospective spheres of cooperation. She accentuated the high dynamics in the cooperation development, both in bilateral and multilateral domain: within regional and international cooperation mechanisms. Her counterpart, H.E. Igor Morgulov, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia stated that Russia considers Philippines to be one of its key partners in Southeast Asia and places special emphasis on promoting bilateral relations, as well as supports ASEAN central role in the regional affairs. A separate part of Mr. Morgulov speech was devoted to cultural and humanitarian ties between the two countries.

The Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Republic of the Philippines, H.E. Marat Pavlov and the Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to the Russian Federation, H.E. Carlos Sorreta italicized the importance of Russia-Philippines cooperation in politics and security, identifying the prospective spheres of cooperation, including energy, food security, infrastructure, IT and medicine. They also discussed the necessity to provide adequate analytical research on the effectiveness of the cooperation and support training of the staff possessing knowledge of either Russian or Tagalog languages.

Trade and economic policy related issues were addressed by Mr. Alan B. Gepty, Assistant Secretary, Industry Development and Trade Policy Group, Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines. Dr. Natalia Stapran, Director for Multilateral Economic Cooperation and Special Economic Projects, Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation shared the most recent trade and investment cooperation statistics; she also provided insights on the successfully implemented joint projects.

Ms. Ludmila Talabaeva, Head of the Friendship Group between the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines in her video message identified key mechanisms of interparliamentary cooperation, among which are ASEAN-lead multilateral institutions. According to Ms. Talabaeva, in recent years interparliamentary ties between the two countries have become stronger, with the parliamentary Friendship Group being one of the largest of that kind, bringing together Russian senators from the majority of the Russian regions and their Philippine counterparts.

Former Foreign Service Secretary (2017-2018), District Representative of the Quezon City in the House of Representatives Mr. Alan Peter Cayetano also accentuated the high level of mutual trust between the country leaders and stated that interparliamentary cooperation between the two countries has strong potential.

Dr. Jose Maria A. Cariño, Director General of the Foreign Service Institute and MGIMO Vice-Rector for Science and Research, Dr. Andrey Baykov discussed the role of humanitarian and culture track in Russia-Philippines relations. The speakers highlighted the role of the USSR-Philippines Friendship Group in promoting bilateral culture ties. Many Filipino artists have studied in the former USSR. Inter-university cooperation plays one of the key parts in humanitarian cooperation, and, according to Dr. Baykov, MGIMO University pays gentle attention to the established ties with the Philippine universities and research centers and cherishes contacts among Russian and Filipino youth.

The concluding remarks were given by H.E. Ms. Army Lopez Garcia, Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation to the Republic of the Philippines, and MGIMO Vice-Rector Dr. Andrey Baykov. They both stressed the high level of the discussion and the importance of similar events in promoting bilateral ties; the mutual wish was to promote further cooperation in the fields discussed.

Among the conference attendees were Mr. Nikolai Nozdrev, Director of the Third Asia Department, MFA of Russia; Dr. Victor Sumsky, ASEAN Centre Senior Expert, Former ASEAN Centre Director (2010-2021); Dr. Yury Raikov, Professor at the Department of Diplomacy; Dr. Anna Kireeva, Associate professor at the Department of Asian and African Studies; Dr. Andrey Dikarev, MGIMO Institute for International Studies Senior Expert and Russian and Philippine government officials. The conference was broadcasted online via MGIMO Youtube Channel and ASEAN Centre and FSI Facebook pages. The number of viewers has already surpassed 2000.

To commemorate the date ASEAN Centre has launched an exposition of rare documents and records, which let the viewers get an insight on the history of bilateral relations between Russia and the Philippines. The materials exposed are from ASEAN Centre, Russian Embassy in the Philippines, Third Asia Department and the Department of History and Records of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs achieves. The exposition is open till May 28 in the MGIMO New Building Hall.

The conference was covered by Philippines media: The Manila Times, Philstar Global, Philippine News Agency.