Palace hopes PH-Kuwaiti issues to be resolved soon

MANILA MalacaAang on Tuesday hoped that issues between the governments of the Philippines and Kuwait will be resolved soon following the apology issued by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano to the Kuwaiti government over the embassy-led rescue of distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Gulf state.

We remain optimistic that other issues between the Philippines and Kuwait would be resolved soon, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement sent to media.

Cayetano said the DFA took "responsibility" for what happened after tension over the issue escalated when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs served two diplomatic protests at the embassy.

"I apologize to my counterpart and we apologize to the Kuwait government, the Kuwaiti people and the leaders of Kuwait if they were offended by some actions taken by the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait," Cayetano said in an interview in Taguig City.

Cayetano earlier admitted that the Kuwaiti government questioned the Philippine embassy's rescue actionif they were abiding by their laws and if there was an abuse in the diplomatic status.

Roque made this statement after saying in a previous Palace briefing that President Rodrigo R. Duterte did not make a formal apology to Kuwaiti Ambassador Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh in Davao City Monday evening to discuss issues between the two countries.

Roque earlier said that he did not think that an aplogy was necessary noting that Duterte's personal, friendly approach to discussing the issue made up for whatever ill feelings might have resulted from rescue operations that went viral.

However, on a statement sent to media Tuesday night, Roque said that Cayetano has conveyed apologies on behalf of the Philippine government in a meeting with the Kuwaiti ambassador Tuesday morning.

Secretary Cayetano conveyed our apologies if the Kuwaiti government felt offended by the actions we took to respond to calls for assistance by our kababayans but emphasized that there was no intent to violate Kuwait sovereignty, Roque said in the statement.

The Secretary conveyed our request for Kuwait's kind understanding of the sworn duty of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines under the leadership of His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte to protect Filipino nationals anywhere in the world as we look forward to working with their authorities in ensuring that our nationals are protected, he added.

Meanwhile, Roque said that Cayetano also reiterated the assurance of respect for the sovereignty and internal processes of the State of Kuwait and the dignity of the Kuwaiti.

Also during the meeting, the governments of the Philippines and Kuwait also agreed to ensure immediate action by Kuwaiti authorities on pending requests for assistance from distressed Filipino workers.

Both governments agreed to facilitate the repatriation of the more than 600 Filipinos currently staying in shelters of the Philippine Embassy and to assure justice for pending and future cases filed by Filipinos who are victims of abuse and other offenses.

They also agreed to assure proper and humane treatment of Filipinos who may be taken into custody after the April 22 amnesty deadline and to repatriate them immediately with the assistance of the Philippine Embassy.

Source: Philippine News Agency