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Duterte wants stronger ties with Vatican, France, Cambodia – Manila Bulletin

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By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte expressed desire to build stronger relationships with Vatican, France, and Cambodia as he received the credentials of the ambassadors of the three states Wednesday.

Duterte met with the new Papal Apostolic Nuncio, Most Reverend Gabriele Caccia, and France’s new Ambassador to Manila Nicolas Galey, both of whom presented their credentials to the President.

  • President Duterte meets with Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia in Malacañang Wednesday, December 6, 2017.

    (Presidential Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

  • President Duterte meets with Cambodia Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhon in Malacañang Wednesday, December 6, 2017.

    (Presidential Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

  • President Duterte meets with French Ambassador to the Philippines Nicolas Galey in Malacañang Wednesday, December 6, 2017.

    (Presidential Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

    Despite his issues with the Church, Duterte told the new Apostolic Nuncio that the Philippines wants to have strong relations with the Vatican.

    Malacañang, in a statement, said that Duterte expressed that the Philippines is proud of being the only predominantly Catholic country in Asia.

    Caccia’s appointment to the Philippines was announced by Pope Francis On September 12, following the transfer of Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto to Croatia last July.

    The 59-year-old Caccia, an Italian archbishop, was nuncio to Lebanon for eight years before he was assigned to the Philippines. Manila is his second assignment as papal ambassador.

    In meeting France’s new envoy, Duterte congratulated Galey for being appointed to the Philippines as he received the latter’s credentials.

    The President told Galey that he wants the partnership between the Philippines and France in trade and other areas to continue.

    “President Duterte also recognized France’s assistance to the Philippines in fighting terrorism and assured the new envoy that the Philippines will continue to support France in fighting Islamic extremism,” Malacañang said in a statement.

    Galey replaced Ambassador Thierry Mathou who was designated as Director for Asia and Oceania at France’s Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. Thierry served as France’s envoy to Manila for almost two years.

    Meanwhile, Duterte expressed delight when he received Cambodian Minister on Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) Prak Sokhon who paid a courtesy call to him also Wednesday.

    Malacañang said that Duterte was glad to see an “ASEAN brother” coming to the Philippines, noting that he wants the Philippines to forge a stronger bond with Cambodia.

    “With the foundation of strong relations laid out during the recently concluded ASEAN Summit in Manila, the President said he wants trade and investment to flourish between the two countries. He said he expects many Cambodian companies to invest in the Philippines,” Malacañang said.

    The Cambodian Foreign Minister was accompanied by Secretary of State Ung Sean, MFAIC; Secretary of State Prum Sokha, Ministry of Interior; Secretary of State Neang Phat, Ministry of National Defense; Secretary of State Tekreth Kamrang, Ministry of Commerce; and Cambodia’s Ambassador to the Philippines Tout Panha. Madame Kheng Samvada, the spouse of Minister Prak Sokhon, was also present.

    Since assuming the presidency, Duterte has already visited Cambodia twice–first was in December last year as chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); and in May this year for the World Economic Forum (WEF).

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