Kuwait alarmed at leaked reports on meeting between Amb. and Philippine FM

KUWAIT, Kuwait has wondered at the media circulation by the Philippine side of a memo related to a recent meeting between the Kuwaiti ambassador in Manila and the Philippine foreign minister, Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah said.

The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry took note of its Philippine counterpart’s memo, published by Philippine media, on the meeting, Al-Jarallah said in a press statement.

The State of Kuwait, represented by its foreign ministry, has tackled recently strained relations between both sides in patience and wisdom through diplomatic channels, he said.

Kuwaiti measures, the last of which was declaring the Philippine ambassador persona non-grata, came after the diplomat had received two memos of protest, which included a request for handing over those involved in acts that undermine Kuwait’s sovereignty, and are deemed interference in its internal affairs and even violate relevant international agreements and treaties, especially Article 41 of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, he added.

Al-Jarallah reiterated Kuwait’s rejection to any bid to undermine its sovereignty or to interfere in its internal affairs, vowing decisive response in this regard.

Laws applied in the State of Kuwait, where 3.1 million residents from 195 different nationalities live, ensure their rights and safeguard their security, dignity and freedom thanks to the country’s fair and independent judiciary, he boasted.

The deputy foreign minister pointed to Kuwait’s willingness to sign a labor agreement with the Philippines, which was recently initialed by both sides in Manila, reflecting Kuwait’s keenness on maintaining friendly relations and joint interests.

In response to 10 points mentioned in a memo from the Philippines Foreign Ministry, Al-Jarallah said Kuwait has put in place a 24-hour emergency hotline, which responds to distress calls “immediately and effectively.” Phone calls made to the hotline, managed by the Ministry of Interior, and subsequent measures, are regularly monitored in order to ensure its efficiency, he underlined.

Kuwait has also created a state-of-the-art shelter for domestic helpers, providing services and assistance to those facing problems with their sponsors, such as the right to accommodation, food, security and liberties.

On this aspect, Kuwait is unique in that it is the only country to have formed a centre of this nature, said the deputy foreign minister, mentioning that the facility has hosted several global human rights monitor visits.

He also said that “relevant Kuwaiti bodies were keen on cooperating with the Filipino Embassy in providing assistance related to the impending applications of Filipino labour facing difficulties.” In regards to the repatriation of 800 Filipino citizens currently residing at this centre, he said the Kuwaiti government has granted them and other expatriates full amnesty for any financial obligations they may have incurred in regards to overstaying or residency law violations.

The government also took steps to ease their travel, providing them with a January 22 deadline, which was extended twice for one month and another two months, in response to calls from the Filipino government – with the new deadline set at April 22 of this year.

“This highlights, without a doubt, the extent of cooperation and appreciation Kuwait extends in regards to its relationship with Republic of the Philippines, and its keenness on cooperating with the Filipino Embassy on agreeing to arrangements that enable their (Filipino citizens) repatriation,” he added.

In relation to ensuring justice is served on lawsuits from Filipino citizens, he said Kuwait has a fair and independent justice system that is renowned for its transparency and ensuring the rights and legal protection of all nationals and expatriates living in the country.

Furthermore, on the matter of ensuring the peaceful and humane treatment of Filipinos, who have been held in detention post-deadline day, he said Kuwait attains an unblemished record of human rights, hailed by relevant international agencies.

As for freeing Filipinos used by the Philippine embassy and who did some acts that breached Kuwait’s sovereignty and laws, and whose practices reflected interference in Kuwait’s internal affairs, he said they are now being investigated and Kuwaiti authorities allowed their embassy’s staff to visit them.

Regarding allowing the Philippine foreign ministry’s diplomats, who are in Kuwait now but not accredited as part of the embassy’s staff in the country, to return to Manila, the State of Kuwait requests the Philippines to hand them over for investigations.

Al-Jarallah concluded by reaffirming the accuracy, commitment and efficiency of the Kuwaiti ambassador in Manila, noting that he has honored his commitments made during the meeting with the Philippine foreign minister.

Source: Kuwait News Agency