PH envoys rap foreign peers for ‘undue interference’
RETIRED Filipino ambassadors have protested what they called “undue interference” on the part of foreign ambassadors and heads of mission to the country who last week called on the government to stay engaged in the Mindanao peace process.
In a statement issued late Sunday, the Philippine Ambassadors Foundation Inc. (PAFI), a group of retired Filipino ambassadors, admonished the foreign ambassadors over the call.
The 20 foreign envoys from 15 embassies and five other missions issued a statement on Friday expressing support “for the continuity of the peace process in our common interest.”
The foreign diplomats accredited here urged all agencies concerned, including Congress, “to give life to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, and to the long-term political, economic and social pillars that will bring a peace dividend to the country as a whole.”
“While it notes with appreciation the interest of the diplomatic community in the peace process in Southern Philippines, (it) takes exception to the above action of the said diplomats as improper, unnecessary and undue interference in a purely domestic concern and disrespectful of the constitutional processes of their host country,” read the statement issued by PAFI secretary general Jesus Yambao.
For his part, PAFI chair Lauro Baja said the statement of the foreign ambassadors “violates a cardinal rule of international relations which abhors undue and blatant interference in the internal affairs of nations.”
“That the statement came from envoys of countries accredited to us is truly lamentable and puts into question the motives of these envoys, done in a manner orchestrated to put pressure on us,” Baja said in a text message.
Reacting to the PAFI statement, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson and Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said the statement of the foreign ambassadors “should not be seen as interference in internal affairs.”
“Successive administrations have sought international support for the peace process over many years,” Jose said in a text message.
“Our foreign partners have been active with their support. The statement should be seen as part of this continuing effort,” Jose said.
Among the foreign diplomats who made the call were William Tweddell of Australia, Neil Reeder of Canada, Asif Ahmad of the United Kingdom, Thomas Ossowski of Germany, Erik Furner of Norway, Stella de Araneta of Colombia, Jan Top Christensen of Denmark, Laurent Legodec of France, Marion Derckx of the Netherlands, Luis Calvo of Spain, Martinus Slabber of South Africa and Jaroslav Olsa of the Czech Republic.
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