President Rodrigo Roa Duterte welcomed His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif of Saudi Arabia during a courtesy call in Malacañan Palace on Monday, March 19.
Prince Abdulaziz, who is also the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Interior, is on his last day of his three-day official visit in the country.
The Saudi prince arrived in Malacañang around 2 p.m. where he was ushered for the traditional signing of the Palace guestbook.
This was followed by a meeting with President Duterte where the two expressed commitment to combat terrorism and violent extremism.
“The President thanked the Prince for the visit and reaffirmed the commitment of the Philippines to defeat and break the backbone of terrorism and violent extremism,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement describing the meeting as “very warm and cordial.”
Roque said the Prince “conveyed the deep respect of the Saudi King for the President’s strong and decisive action that led to the liberation of Marawi from extremists and terrorists.”
He added that Prince Abdulaziz likewise conveyed the personal and warm wishes of His Majesty and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to the President and reaffirmed the importance of the Philippines to Saudi Arabia.
For his part, President Duterte stressed the need to expand cooperation across many fields including security, trade and investment, as well as in promoting the rights, safety and well-being of Filipinos.
Following the courtesy call, Duterte hosted a luncheon in honor of the visiting Prince at the President’s Hall.
“Over a specially prepared Filipino inspired menu, the two discussed the strengthening bilateral relations and issues of mutual importance, particularly in law enforcement, peace and order and security,” Roque said.
Among the Cabinet officials who accompanied the President were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Eduardo Año, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.
The Saudi Prince arrived in the country last Saturday. He also met with several Philippine officials over the weekend. PND