Szijjártó meets with Philippine strongman Rodrigo Duterte

March 28, 2017

MTI Fotó: KKM

“As a non Philippine citizen, it doesn’t matter what I think about local issues. Local internal issues must be decided by the citizens of the Philippines. We came to cooperate, not to interfere.” – Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó

Three Hungarian companies received permission to export meat products to the Philippines as a result of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó’s three-day visit to that country, reports 444.hu. Szijjártó held meetings with the island nation’s President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been widely criticized for his open advocacy of extrajudicial killings of drug users and criminals, and who has admitted to personally murdering three crime suspects while mayor of a Philippine city and has compared himself to Adolf Hitler. Szijjártó is the first EU foreign minister to visit Duterte since he took power in June 2016, and only the fourth in the world to be received by the leader.

Szijjártó, when asked what he thought of the human rights abuses in the country under Duterte’s leadership, said that Hungary doesn’t care to comment.

“As a non-Philippine citizen, it doesn’t matter what I think about local issues,” Szijjártó said. “Local internal issues must be decided by the citizens of the Philippines. We came to cooperate, not to interfere.”

In the interest of cooperation, Szijjártó called agriculture a “key area” in the economic cooperation between the two countries, and said that the export of Hungarian meat products will provide an important push for further agricultural exports to the southeast Asian country.

Trade between Hungary and the Philippines amounted to around USD 200 million in 2016, a figure Szijjártó called “not nothing, but there is room for development.” The foreign minister announced the opening of a EUR 510 million line of credit at Hungary’s import-export bank Eximbank to support cooperation between Hungarian and Philippine businesses.