Plane crash probe forces Russian President to skip APEC 2015

Vladimir Putin has confirmed to President Benigno Aquino III that he will skip the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM) because of problems in his country, Malacañang said Friday. In a press conference, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Putin phoned President Aquino on Thursday night to say that he is going to miss the two-day meeting next week. “President Aquino replied that he understood fully well the issues that are confronting the Russian government, and that he also understands the need of President Putin to stay in his country to ensure that the reasons behind some of their domestic issues are fully investigated and threshed out,” said Valte. Valte said the Russian delegation will be headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, in the absence of Putin. "The reasons that were discussed relative to the ongoing investigation on the Russian jetliner that had recently been downed. I say ‘downed’ because there is an ongoing investigation as to the reasons for it going down and as you know, a number of Russians suffered or perished in that crash," Valte said.

 "The President did extend his understanding on the loss of life and recognize fully well that it is a cause for concern for President Putin," she added One of the issues confronting the Russian government is the October 31 Russian plane crash over Egypt, which killed all 224 passengers and crew. Quoting US sources, a Reuters report earlier said that Russian communications intercepted by US intelligence agencies showed Russia believed the plane was brought down by a bomb. As regards the attendance of Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo to the summit, Valte said there had been no formal confirmation of his decision to skip the event. But she said Widodo would "most likely be unable to attend the summit.” “We understand that the pressing matters back home require his immediate attention,” said Valte. DFA undersecretary Laura Del Rosario on Thursday said Widodo will be represented by his Trade Minister Thomas Lembong in the Manila meeting. DFA spokesman Charles Jose said the Philippine government is awaiting formal confirmation from Indonesian government for their representative to the summit. “Although we regret that President Jokowi Widodo will most likely be unable to attend the summit, the Philippines understands that pressing matters back home require his immediate attention,” Jose said. Jose said the representatives of the Russian and Indonesian presidents would be granted the same courtesies as their Presidents and will be delivering their countries’ positions as they were accorded full powers by their leaders. "Of course we would have liked that all leaders would be able to come," Jose said. "At the same time we look forward to welcoming their representatives to the economic leaders meeting and their participation will strengthen Philippine initiatives as hosts and also contribute to economic cooperation of member economics under the ambit of APEC,” he added. - See more at:
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