Kuwait declaration of envoy persona non grata ‘deeply disturbing’: DFA

MANILA The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) found "deeply disturbing" the Kuwaiti government's decision to declare Philippine Ambassador Renato Villa persona non grata, following the issue on the rescue of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are in extreme situations in the Gulf state.

The agency on Wednesday night said it was informed that Villa has been declared unacceptable by the State of Kuwait and has been given one week to return to Manila.

"The action taken by the Kuwaiti Government is deeply disturbing as it is inconsistent with the assurances given by Kuwaiti Ambassador Musaed Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh during his meeting with Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in Manila on Tuesday," it said in a statement sent by the DFA-Office of Public Diplomacy.

The DFA will ask Saleh to explain first thing tomorrow, Thursday (April 26) why the Kuwaiti government "reneged on the agreement reached" with him to work together to move bilateral relations between the Philippines and Kuwait forward, the statement reads.

In discussions at every level with Kuwait, the DFA said the country has always emphasized that the well-being of Filipino nationals wherever they may be will always be of paramount importance.

"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," it ended.

Cayetano on Tuesday apologized to the Kuwaiti government over the issue that escalated within the week. The official also noted the agency takes "responsibility" for what happened, adding it was never the government's intention to offend Kuwait.

Meanwhile, he reiterated that the assistance to nationals operations undertaken by the embassy were on the context of "life or death" or "threat to nationals" situations where action has to be taken right away.

In Singapore, Cayetano early Wednesday was quoted by a Philippine daily as saying Villa will not be recalled. Kuwaiti [officials] say he's welcome to stay."

Hours later, the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs already notified the Filipino envoy that he is persona non grata in the country. KUNA said the ministry had also recalled Althwaikh for consultation. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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