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Duterte mulls severing diplomatic ties with Iceland – Palace

July 16, 2019 - Tuesday 4:07 PM by MDM

President Rodrigo Duterte salutes the reception party upon his arrival at the Jolo Airport before heading to Camp Bud Datu in Indanan, Sulu on July 15, 2019. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Malacañang on Tuesday, July 16, said President Rodrigo Duterte is "seriously considering severing ties with Iceland" following its spearheading of a resolution that the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) should probe the Philippiens for alleged human rights abuses under the the campaign against illegal drugs.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo relayed this development to Palace reporters in a Palace briefing, saying the resolution initiated by Iceland is "biased."

“He mentioned last night that he is seriously considering cutting diplomatic ties with Iceland. There are only about 2,000 Filipinos there and as far as we know, there are no trade relations between these two countries, except fish,” Panelo said. 

“That’s why I described it, the resolution, as being grotesquely one-sided, outrageously narrow, and maliciously partisan simply because it is based on false information and unverified facts and figures,” he added. 

Panelo said for him, the resolution is "devoid of merit and only assaults the sovereignty of the country in dealing with its internal matters."

“Because you know, as we were discussing with the President, I think sovereign states should give due respect to each other and if there is any concern on violations of human rights on the part of others, they should at least give a formal communication to those subject of their concern, as a matter of courtesy and civility so that we can properly respond,” he said.

Panelo also said ehile the resolution is not binding,  there is a need to react on this because this is clearly an intrusion on the part of Iceland. At best, Panelo said, the resolution is insignificant. 

“Maybe with respect to the votes garnered, there is no significance. Only others, especially the critics and detractors, are giving importance to the adoption of the resolution,” he said.

“But if you analyze the 47 countries with more than half of them not joining the proponent, then it shows it’s insignificant,” he added. 

Panelo said the Duterte administration "remains unfazed" towards the resolution which he said "tries to taint the image of the country."

“The image, no, definitely not because we’ve been saying that it’s not unanimous, it’s not even a simple majority. But, at the same time, we are reacting because you cannot do that to a fellow sovereign state,” he said.

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