DFA hails Kuwait gesture to resolve spat

MANILA The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday welcomed Kuwait's willingness to work with Manila in ironing out diplomatic row over embassy-led rescues of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Gulf state.

On Sunday, Kuwait Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah conveyed Kuwait's readiness to work with the Philippines in addressing the concerns of OFWs.

Citing the "historic friendship" between the two states after Manila sent Kuwait assistance during the Gulf war, Al-Jarallah believed both will be able to mend strained ties.

"This gesture on the part of Kuwait, a country with which we have a shared history and strong people-to-people ties, will allow us to move forward and hurdle the challenges we face," Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement.

"We acknowledge with heartfelt thanks the assurances of Kuwait to work with us in protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of Filipinos working there," he added.

Tension between the two nations escalated following Kuwait's protests against the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait's rescue operations, which later led to the expulsion of Ambassador Renato Villa.

At present, four drivers of a van for hire are detained by the Kuwaiti authorities for "participation" in the rescues. Meanwhile, three diplomats are facing warrants of arrest.

As of posting, the DFA has yet to give an update on their appeal for the release of the four drivers and the status of the three diplomats.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, along with some Cabinet members will head to Kuwait on May 7 to meet with counterparts. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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