Relations between the Philippines and Kuwait have been reaffirmed, signaling both parties’ support to protecting overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
President Rodrigo Duterte showed the first move in resolving the recent conflict involving a Philippine embassy staff rescuing OFWs in Kuwait.
He had a “frank” and “cordial” meeting with Kuwaiti Ambassador to the Philippines Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh in Davao City on April 23 to fix the issue and urge the latter to “move forward” with the bilateral relations.
“They discussed recent events that transpired in Kuwait. They parted on a positive note emphasizing that while the Philippines will always exercise its obligation to protect its nationals abroad, they will do so in a manner respecting the sovereignty of Kuwait,” said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.
“I understand that after the meeting both parties reiterated their mutual support for each other and parted even closer as friends,” he added.
Roque stressed the President handled the situation well with him being “very personal” and “very friendly.”
“Nagkaintindihan na muli ang Kuwait at ang Pilipinas…Yung mga hindi pagkakaintindihan siguro, alam niyo kung ano iyon, iyung pinoprotesta ng Kuwait, pero I think naayos naman ni Presidente ang sigalot na ‘yan, minor lang naman. Kuwait and the Philippines now understand each other. Any misunderstanding that was protested by Kuwait has been solved by the President. It was just a minor one,” he said.
The spokesperson stressed the President did not apologize over the matter as “that was not necessary at all.”
“I think he made it very clear that he had no other option but to protect Filipino workers in Kuwait. So I think that was made very clear to the Kuwait side; but at the same time – because we also have this policy of independent foreign policy – he also recognize the right of sovereignty as far as Kuwait is concerned,” he added.
Moreover, Kuwait assured it would uphold the rights of Filipinos working in their country.
“What they agreed upon is that they will honor, you know, minimum standards of treating our OFWs. They will respect our rights to protect our workers in Kuwait,” Roque said.