Wednesday 18 January 2017

Obama snubs Philippine leader over insult

Josh Lederman and Kathleen Hennessey Vientiane

Published 06/09/2016 | 02:30

Duterte has been under intense global scrutiny over the more than 2,000 suspected drug dealers and users killed since he took office. Obama had said he planned to raise the issue in his first meeting with Duterte. Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Duterte has been under intense global scrutiny over the more than 2,000 suspected drug dealers and users killed since he took office. Obama had said he planned to raise the issue in his first meeting with Duterte. Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Barack Obama called off a planned meeting with new Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte, seeking distance from the US ally's leader during a diplomatic tour that's put the American president in close quarters with a cast of contentious world figures.

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It's unusual for one president to tell another what to say or not say, and much rarer to call the other a "son of a bitch".

Duterte managed to do both, warning Obama not to challenge him over extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

"Clearly, he's a colourful guy," Obama said. "What I've instructed my team to do is talk to their Philippine counterparts to find out is this in fact a time where we can have some constructive, productive conversations."

Early yesterday, National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the meeting with Duterte was off.

Duterte has been under intense global scrutiny over the more than 2,000 suspected drug dealers and users killed since he took office. Obama had said he planned to raise the issue in his first meeting with Duterte.

Irish Independent

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