Monday 19 August 2019

Duterte attacks Trudeau over war on drugs 'killings'

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte Photo: Reuters
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte Photo: Reuters

Karen Lema and Manolo Serapio Jr

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte attacked Canada's Justin Trudeau at the end of a summit of Asian and Western nations for raising questions about his war on drugs, a topic skirted by other leaders, including US President Donald Trump.

At the traditional news conference by the host nation at the end of the summit yesterday, Mr Duterte was asked how he had responded to the Canadian prime minister raising the issue of human rights and extra-judicial killings in his anti-drugs drive.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Photo: AP
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Photo: AP

"I said I will not explain. It is a personal and official insult," the Philippines president said in the course of a rambling answer, although he did not refer to Mr Trudeau by name.

"I only answer to the Filipino. I will not answer to any other bulls**t, especially foreigners. Lay off."

Earlier in the day, Mr Trudeau told a news conference that during his meeting with Mr Duterte "the president was receptive to my comments and it was throughout a very cordial and positive exchange".

Human rights activists had been hoping that leaders at the summit, including Mr Trump, would raise the issue of the thousands of users and small-time pushers killed in the campaign launched by Mr Duterte after he took office in mid-2016.

There was no pressure from Mr Trump on the drugs war when he met Mr Duterte on Monday and the US president later said the two had a "great relationship".

A joint statement after the meeting only said the two sides "underscored that human rights and the dignity of human life are essential, and agreed to continue mainstreaming the human rights agenda in their national programmes".

Mr Duterte cursed Mr Trump's predecessor Barack Obama last year for raising concerns about the war on drugs and he subsequently declared he was breaking ties with the US, a close ally since World War II. The relationship appears to have got back on track after the bonhomie between him and Mr Trump.

Mr Trudeau also said that he raised the issue of the exodus of Rohingya during a meeting with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, another sensitive topic bypassed by most other leaders, although he did not mention the Muslim minority by name.

Irish Independent

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