Duterte prohibits Filipino ministers from traveling to the US

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte banned members of his Government from traveling to the United States in the process of canceling the agreement on the deployment of US troops in the territory of the country for military exercises, the chain of ABS-CBN television.

“I will not allow any member of the Cabinet to travel there in these times,” the chain quotes the president.

The restriction is imposed “for an indefinite period,” he said.

The president also canceled his visit to the ‘special summit’ of the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean, for its acronym in English) to be held in early 2020 in the US.

Duterte argued his decision for “strategic and geopolitical reasons.”

It was previously reported that the Philippine president threatened Washington to cancel the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States for the cancellation of the US visa to Philippine senator Ronald dela Rosa.

The Filipino leader gave the US a month to review his decision.

The VFA entered into force in 1999 and legalized the presence of thousands of US soldiers sent to the Philippines for military exercises and humanitarian operations.

Duterte has already banned the entry of US senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy, who proposed denying entry to the US for Filipino officials involved in the detention of former justice minister Leila de Lima.

This is the clause that allows the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to deny entry to the US to representatives of the Philippine authorities in case Washington has “reliable information” that they are involved in “deprivation of liberty. Illegal “of Senator De Lima.

Politician and human rights defender known for her criticism of the Philippine Government, De Lima was arrested in February 2017 on charges of accepting drug trafficking bribes while she held the post of Justice, between June 2010 and October 2015.

De Lima denies the accusations against him and claims to be subject to political persecution.

The Philippine presidential spokesman, Salvador Panelo, also indicated that if the US prohibits the entry into its territory of Filipino officials in the Lima case, the authorities will be forced to introduce visas for US citizens.



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