Philippines' Duterte rails at USA 'monkeys' for halting gun sale
Nov 06 2016 by Desiree Burns
Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte has suggested he may turn to Russian Federation to provide his country with weapons, after the U.S. government reportedly blocked the sale of assault rifles to police in the Philippines.
State Department spokesman John Kirby declined comment on decisions that affect potential arms sales but stressed government-to-government relations between the United States and the Philippines are very strong.
"But, look closely and balance the situation, they are rude to us". "China also. China is open, anything you want, they sent me brochure saying we select there, we'll give you", he said.
"But I am holding off because I was asking the military if they have any problem. That's why I was rude at them, because they were rude at me".
"There are long-standing relationships that we have nurtured over the years with figures in his government, and those relationships are still there, and they're still vibrant", Kirby told reporters, adding that the USA remains committed to developing a good working relationship with Duterte himself.
The State Department halted the deal after Democratic U.S. Senator Ben Cardin said he would oppose it over qualms with the country's recent human rights record, according to Al Jazeera.
However, reports of the growing death toll linked to the Duterte administration's efforts to curb the Philippines' illicit narcotics trade have driven Cardin to criticize what has been a violent war on drugs.
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Duterte's tirades against the former colonial power are routine during his speeches and he said on Wednesday he once believed in Washington, but had since lost respect for the Philippines' biggest ally.
Duterte has vented his anger at the U.S. for raising concerns about the extra-judicial killings.
According to procedures in Washington, the State Department informs Congress when worldwide weapons sales are in the works.
On Tuesday evening, Duterte told reporters that a Russian diplomat had previously told him to "come to Russia; we all have here anything you need", according to the Inquirer. "We have many air rifles here", he said jokingly.
In October, Russia's ambassador to the Philippines said Moscow was ready to discuss a partnership with the Philippines, after Mr Duterte announced his country was "separating" from the United States.
On Tuesday, Lascon said he has "yet to see an investigation with the conclusion that massive and state-sanctioned human rights violations were committed under the present regime's drive against illegal drugs".