Phl calls for calm in Gulf amid Saudi-Iran rift

By Pia Lee-Brago
Phl calls for calm in Gulf amid Saudi-Iran rift

The Philippines called for calm and restraint in the Gulf region as the Saudi Arabia-Iran rift widened.

“We call on all parties to work together to ease sectarian tensions and to promote reconciliation,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement on the execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr and the attacks on the Saudi embassy in Iran.

Saudi Arabia has cut diplomatic relations with Iran in a sharp escalation of tensions between the two countries following the execution of al-Nimr. 

“The Philippines also calls for full respect for the inviolability of diplomatic premises in all nations,” the DFA said.

The United Nations said that the attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran, Iran’s capital, was deplorable, but added that the announcement by Saudi Arabia of a break diplomatic relations with Iran was deeply worrying.

The embassy of Saudi Arabia in Manila said on Tuesday the attacks on its embassy and consulate general in Mashhad are acts that constitute blatant violations against all norms and treaties. 

The embassy said the Saudi government expressed strong indignation, discontentment and condemnation over the attacks.

On Tuesday, the DFA said it does not intend to impose a travel and deployment ban to Saudi Arabia and Iran amid tensions between the two Middle East nations and the rupture in diplomatic ties.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the DFA is monitoring developments very closely, particularly relations between the two countries.

He said there is no immediate threat against OFWs in Saudi Arabia and Iran but contingency measures are in place.

Jose said, “We have no plans at this time to raise an alert level or implement repatriation or impose travel/deployment ban.”

President Aquino met with members of the Cabinet the other day to assess the situation and prepare contingency plans for the Middle East.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that comprehensive contingency measures must be put in place and implemented with maximum coordination among all concerned agencies. – With Aurea Calica, Ric Sapnu, Mayen Jaymalin, Jose Rodel Clapano