A delegation of Russian legislators personally sought backing from Congress for the establishment of a direct flight between Russia and the Philippines.
The delegation is in Manila for the recently concluded Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF), where they also met with House Speaker Martin Romualdez and Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.
“Everyone was very positive about these proposals, and they promised to use all of their leverage they have in order to make sure that we restore direct air service between our two countries,” Andrey Yatskin, head of the delegation and first deputy chair of the Russian Federation Council, said in an interview at a hotel in Pasay City on Saturday.
The legislator shared that Moscow established a direct flight to Bangkok only recently, which helped bring about two million Russian tourists to Thailand this year.
“You can attract some of these tourist flows to the Philippines and benefit from developing and promoting tourism and these ties with the Russian Federation,” he said.
The delegation also wants to expand engagements with its Filipino counterparts to facilitate more sister city deals as well as cooperation agreements on culture, education, and tourism, among others.
“The pandemic affected very negatively our economic relations between Russia and the Philippines. There were disrupted ties in many areas, including on the tourism industry,” Yatskin said.
“And so for this reason, we can’t say that we are satisfied with the current state of our bilateral economic relations,” he added.
Meanwhile, he conveyed Russia’s stand for a “shared and indivisible security” in the Asia-Pacific during the APPF.
“We also stand for the central role of the United Nations and its Charter in international law. So there were no reservations or critical statements regarding this position from other delegates,” he said.
In the same interview, he hailed the Philippines’ APPF hosting as a success due to the number of resolutions adopted, five of which were initiated or co-sponsored by Russia.
“We submitted six draft resolutions, and we had five adopted in one way or another,” he said.
“This was a very positive event. And I can assure you that this was one of the best APPF meetings we’ve attended,” he added.
Yatskin was joined in the Philippines by Senator Andrey Denisov and Sholban Kara-Ool, deputy chair of State Duma or the lower house of the Russian Federal Assembly. (PNA)