PBBM to attend ASEAN, Persian Gulf summit in Saudi Arabia

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will be in Saudi Arabia later this week for a summit of Southeast Asia and the Persian Gulf leaders, a Department of Foreign Affairs official said on Monday.

During the Malacañang press briefing, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Daniel Espiritu said Marcos will meet with Riyadh's Filipino community and business leaders during his visit on 19 and 20 October.

"The probable bilateral meeting with Saudi Arabia would focus on the 54 years of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia and with Bahrain would focus on the 45th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries," Espiritu said.

He added that Marcos might bring up the Maharlika Investment Fund, improve the working conditions of overseas Filipino workers, and assist in developing the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao during his bilateral talks with KSA.

"It will be a short affair. It's just a one-day meeting. It will be preceded by a Filipino community meeting, hopefully, in the morning of the same day," according to Espiritu.

ASEAN comprises the Philippines and nine other Southeast Asian countries, while the GCC is a political and economic alliance that brings together six Arab countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Oman, the GCC chair in 1990, stated a desire to develop formal relations with ASEAN and initiated the first official communication between the two blocs at that time.

In 2009, Bahrain hosted the inaugural ASEAN-GCC ministerial gathering. The foreign ministers of both countries have since met yearly in New York, just before the UN General Assembly.

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