President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. thanked Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal on Friday for his openness to restart negotiations aimed at normalizing the Philippines-Kuwait through an initial meeting of the two countries’ foreign ministers, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Friday.
The DFA said that the initial meeting of the two countries’ foreign ministers would focus on President Marcos’ statements on the importance of guaranteeing the welfare and protecting the rights of Filipino workers abroad.
The initial meeting of the ministers also highlighted the President’s bilateral meeting with the Kuwaiti Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia at the sidelines of the ASEAN-GCC Summit, the DFA said, adding that both President Marcos and the Kuwaiti Crown Prince had “reaffirmed their commitment to work together to resolve outstanding issues.”
The DFA said that the Kuwaiti Crown Prince requested a short and informal meeting with the President immediately after the Summit, with the Prince informing President Marcos of his country’s urgent desire to normalize relations with the Philippines.
The Kuwaiti leader apologized and told President Marcos that the “narrow-mindedness of some of the Kuwaiti officials” caused the breakdown of the negotiations between the Philippine and Kuwaiti delegations last May.
The DFA said Sheikh Meshal expressed his highest respect for the Philippines and for the President’s father, Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr., who extended help to Kuwait before.
In a media interview in Riyadh, the President said that the resolution of the country’s disagreement with Kuwait is one of the successes of his trip to Saudi Arabia to attend the ASEAN-GCC Summit.
The Kuwaiti leader apologized to him, Marcos said, and vowed to fix its relations with the Philippines, noting the country’s importance to Kuwait.
The Philippine government temporarily banned the deployment of first-time household service workers to Kuwait amid concerns for their safety, following the deaths of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). Kuwait also imposed travel restrictions.
According to available government data, the estimated number of Filipinos in Kuwait is 279,000 as of 2022.OFWs remittances from Kuwait amounted to US$576,059 in 2021 and US$579,186 last year. | PND
Photo Courtesy of PCO