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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatens to eject EU ambassadors

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he will eject EU ambassadors out of Manila if it turns out they are demanding his country be kicked out of the UN. EU countries denied any knowledge of the demand.

Philippinen Rodrigo Duterte Rede in Manila (Reuters/E. Acayan)

Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday that "stupid European Union guys" want the Philippines expelled from the UN.

"Just like that, you tell us, 'You will be excluded in the UN.' Son of a whore, go ahead," Duterte told reporters, adding European nations were taking advantage of poverty in the Philippines.

The speech followed a call supported by some EU members that the UN Human Rights Council investigate the killings connected with Duterte's drug war, but the EU has made no public comments about wanting to remove the Philippines from the UN.

Duterte did not explain any possible reasons for suspecting they were.

He made the warning on Thursday after a group of visiting members of the European Parliament (MEPs) warned that the Philippines might face sanctions if the recent round of killings related to the drug war does not stop.

Read more: No drug-related extrajudicial killings in the Philippines?

The parliamentarians - from the Progressive Alliance and the Party of European Socialists - said the Philippines risked losing a preferential trade deal that allows more than 6,000 of its products to enter the EU duty-free if the government fails to stop the killings.

"Do you think Russia and China will agree? Do you think China and the rest of the countries of the ASEAN countries will agree to that?,” Duterte said. "Now, the ambassadors of those countries listening now, tell me. Because we can have the diplomatic channel cut tomorrow. You leave my country in 24 hours. All of you.

"You give us money then you start to orchestrate what things should be done and which should not happen in our country," he said, adding that the Philippines was "past the colonization stage."

The war on drugs

Duterte's drug war has seen police kill at least 3,850 people since he took office 15 months ago, although some human rights groups allege that the death toll could be as high as 12,000 and that police have killed suspects without giving them a chance to prove their innocence in court.

European countries have been among the most strident critics of Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs.

The EU parliament issued a resolution in 2016 expressing concern over the "extraordinarily high numbers killed during police operations" in the drug war and urged Duterte to "put an end to the current wave of extrajudicial executions and killings."

The president's aides have previously told journalists not to take all of Duterte's remarks literally and that some of his statements were "hyperbole" or "rhetoric."

Duterte won elections last year after pledging to stamp out the illegal drug trade in six months and vowing that 100,000 people would be killed in the process.

A survey last month showed the first major drop in Duterte's popularity.

Watch video 00:19

Duterte: "I've seen America and it's lousy"

jbh/sms (dpa, AFP)

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