Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Moscow Open To Joint Exercises

MANILA, Philippines -- The Russian Federation is open to the idea of conducting military joint exercises with the Philippines in the area of anti-piracy, and search and rescue operations, similar in nature to what it conducted with Indonesia at the beginning of the year.

However, according to Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Nikolay Kudashev, to make such an activity a regular practice and to introduce the idea of camaraderie into the military-to-military relationship of Moscow and Manila, both countries need to keep in mind the “new regional architecture” and to shed “the ghost of Cold War.”

"While the ghost of the Cold War exists and while the traditional alliances would still keep that divisive nature, that would still be a problem,” Kudashev told Manila Bulletin in an interview at his official residence in Forbes Park, Makati City.

The Russian envoy said certain aspects could still give the feeling that the Philippines is still living under the Cold War era.

“You inherited it from the previous times and you need more of mutual understanding, more of talking to one another, more of confidence to get free of those ghosts,” he stated. “This is my personal feeling.”

Kudashev noted that the documents of certain treaties the Philippines signed with other countries, particularly the United States such as the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), actually originated during the Cold War era.

“What we believe is necessary now, and this is a larger issue, is to think about re-adjusting, I'll try to be as delicate as possible, I would not say dismantling,” Kudashev said.

“Re-adjusting these alliances and making them fit the current of the new age, the current of the new reality in the Asia Pacific, the current of cooperation, of facing together the new threats, of protecting economic cooperation, of facilitating business confidence. We should think about it,” he said.

“Of utmost importance now is to look into the future, to design a new regional set up, to look for a way and that would not be easy,” he said.

In the possible joint Philippine-Russia military exercises, Kudashev cited the recent visit of three Russian Navy ships to Manila.

The ships, which include the Russian anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Panteleyev, sea tanker Boris Botuma, and rescue tug Fotiy Krylov, sailed into Philippine shores last February.

The Russian ambassador said during the visit, Russian sailors introduced themselves to the civilian as well as to the military leadership of the Philippines

He said the crew even conducted some preliminary naval exercises at the Manila Harbor.
“During the meetings with Filipino navy men and Filipino coast guard, (the Russian crew) discussed the issue of conducting joint exercise,” Kudashev said.

Roy Mabasa | Manila Bulletin | May 21, 2012 | Article Link

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