The Philippines and Russia have finalized the texts for two treaties of cooperation in fighting crime.
The proposed Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty and the Extradition Treaty came after six days of negotiations between the two countries.
The negotiations were held from April 24 to 28 at the Ministry of Justice of Russia and on April 29 at the Philippine Embassy in Moscow where the Agreed Minutes were signed.
The agreements may possibly be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte during his visit to Russia in May.
"The signing of the two agreements during the visit of President Duterte to Russia will be a significant step forward in combating the scourge of criminality, including terrorism and drug related crimes,” said Undersecretary Antonio Kho of the Department of Justice who headed the Philippine delegation.
“We will continue to enhance our relationships with other countries to address our common challenges in the face of increasing attacks from criminal syndicates,” he added.
“We commend both delegations for their hard work over six days and we are pleased to have the agreements initialed at the Philippine Embassy. The signing of these two agreements during the President’s visit to Russia will highlight the importance both countries give to fighting crime, including those committed by terrorists and international drug syndicates,” noted Philippine Ambassador Carlos D. Sorreta.
The delegations also achieved significant progress on the proposed Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners (TSP) Agreement.
According to Sorreta, both sides exerted every effort to conclude their negotiations but further talks would be necessary.
"The negotiators did their best to complete their work on the TSP Agreement, including negotiating into the weekend. They were able to come to agreement on the language for a number of articles. But given the differences in our criminal law and procedure, we will still have to work out common language on some remaining issues. It is likely that this agreement will be signed after the President’s visit and hopefully before the year ends,” Sorreta said.