DFA protests envoy expulsion, arrest of Filipinos in Kuwait

MANILAThe Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday served a diplomatic note to the Embassy of Kuwait in Manila conveying its "strong surprise" and "great displeasure" over the declaration of Ambassador Renato Pedro Villa as persona non grata to the Arab state.

In a statement sent to the media, the DFA-Office Public Diplomacy said Manila also takes strong stance to the continued detention of four Filipinos hired by the Philippine Embassy and the issuance of arrest warrants against three diplomatic personnel.

"The Department believes that these acts are inconsistent with the assurances and representations made by the Kuwaiti Ambassador on the various concerns that were brought to his attention by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano during their meeting in Manila on 24 April 2018," it said.

The DFA confirmed that Kuwaiti Ambassador Musaed Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh has been recalled to his capital for consultation.

The agency Wednesday night already said it is "deeply disturbed" by the recent developments in Kuwait and revealed it will ask the envoy first thing Thursday for an explanation.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs has summoned Kuwaiti Ambassador Musaed Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh but was informed by the Embassy of the State of Kuwait in Manila that he has been recalled to his capital for consultations."

In their past meetings, Cayetano inquired on the status of Villa in Kuwait and Althwaikh replied that he is still welcome to stay in Kuwait until the end of his tour of duty, and that the government of Kuwait likes Ambassador Villa very much.

In the same meeting, DFA stressed that the Kuwaiti envoy also committed to a number of measures that will immediately respond to the urgent requests by Filipinos.

This includes the Kuwaiti government's 24/7 Hotline for assistance requests, facilitation of repatriation of the more than 800 Filipinos currently staying in shelters of the embassy, and assurance of justice for pending and future cases filed by Filipinos who are victims of serious abuse and other offenses.

Among others, DFA said there was a commitment from Kuwait's part that cases of detained Filipinos hired by the Philippine Embassy will be handled immediately.

Kuwait also made a commitment that DFA's diplomatic personnel still in the Gulf state will be allowed to return to Manila without delay.

"Given the current circumstances, the Department conveyed its wish to be clarified on the actions to be taken by the Government of Kuwait on the assurances given by the Ambassador to the Secretary," DFA's earlier statement read.

Meanwhile, it underscored that the protection of the rights and the promotion of the welfare of Filipinos abroad would always be the guiding principle of the Philippines in its relationship with countries around the world, including Kuwait. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency