MANILA — Israel plans "to continue and enhance" its defense cooperation with the Philippines, an ambassador said on Monday, after his courtesy visit to President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The Philippines and Israel have "very good historical and close relations," which the 2 countries are exploring how to "deepen," Israeli Ambassador Ilan Fluss said in a press conference after his meeting with Marcos
"In general, we discussed about creating bridges between Israel and the Philippines to get our relations close," said Fluss.
"I would say creating bridges of innovation between our 2 countries," added the envoy.
However, defense pacts have yet to be discussed, Fluss said.
"We didn't discuss any specific deals. It is not the time," he said.
"It is much too early and we're not at that level. But certainly we discussed cooperation in many areas, including defense, Israel as a partner of the Philippines, which is facing some similar challenges, in terrorism as a threat to democracy," he said.
"We are looking forward to continue and enhance this collaboration."
Israel is also keen on helping Marcos' administration develop its priorities, such as agriculture, food security, and employment, the ambassador said.
"Israel is known as one of the global leaders in modern agriculture, which is also looking for sustainable agriculture," he said.
"We discussed how the innovation and technologies of Israel, and some of the practices we developed in Israel can contribute to the development process in the Philippines," he said.