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Monday, September 23, 2019, 17:45
Manila halts aid talks with 18 nations backing UN probe
By Associated Press
Monday, September 23, 2019, 17:45 By Associated Press

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a news conference in Davao City, the Philippines, April 9, 2018. (YUAN MENGCHEN / XINHUA)

MANILA, Philippines — A presidential spokesman says the Philippines is suspending negotiations and signing of loans and grants from 18 countries that backed a UN human rights resolution calling for an inquiry into human rights conditions.

Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Monday that President Rodrigo Duterte issued a confidential memo ordering the suspension indefinitely. Panelo had denied the suspension last week.

ALSO READ: UN launches investigation into Philippines drug war deaths

He downplayed the effect, saying the move would not considerably affect the government's infrastructure program and that existing loan and grant agreements would proceed except at least one British loan.

Eighteen countries led by Iceland approved a resolution in July that asked the UN Human Rights Council to look into rights conditions under Duterte.

READ MORE: Anger simmers in Philippines over Duterte's drug war

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