Kuwait expels Philippines top diplomat amid worker resuce

Expulsion order issued after gulf state protests embassy staff’s ‘rescue’ of Filipino domestic workers from employers’ homes
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines: Kuwait on Wednesday declared the Philippine ambassador a persona non-grata and ordered him to leave the country in a week after embassy staff “rescued” Filipino domestic workers from their employers’ homes following reports of abuse.
Renato Villa confirmed his expulsion to local media but declined to comment further.
Citing the “undiplomatic acts” by Philippine embassy staff, Kuwait also recalled its ambassador to the Philippines, Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh, for consultations.
Kuwait decried a “flagrant and grave breach of rules and regulations that govern diplomatic action” by embassy staff who encouraged and helped Filipino workers flee their employers’ homes.
A video showing embassy officials rescuing Filipino domestic workers from Kuwaiti homes was released by the Philippine Foreign Affairs Department to local media last week as an update on the ongoing rescue of distressed Filipinos.
Regarding it as a violation of diplomatic norms and sovereignty, Kuwait summoned Villa at least three times.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano apologized Tuesday, saying “this was all done in the spirit of emergency action to protect Filipinos”.
“I apologize to my counterpart, and we apologize to the Kuwaiti government, Kuwaiti people and the leaders of Kuwait if they were offended by some actions taken by the Philippine embassy in Kuwait, but we have explained to their ambassador, and the ambassador has accepted this explanation,” Cayetano told reporters.
In a statement Thursday, the country’s Department of Foreign Affairs called Kuwait’s move deeply disturbing and inconsistent with assurances given by ambassador Saleh during a meeting last Tuesday.
“The Department will ask Ambassador Saleh to explain first thing tomorrow why the Kuwaiti Government reneged on the agreement reached with him to work together to move bilateral relations between the Philippines and Kuwait forward,” said the statement.–AA

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