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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Kuwait invites Philippines' Duterte to visit over workers row

Kuwait's deputy foreign minister Khalid Al Jarallah said on Monday that the countries had agreed deal to regulate working conditions

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad invited Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte to visit in March. In this picture, he attends the Ministerial Level Conference at the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq at Bayan Palace in Kuwait City, Kuwait, on February 14, 2018. Noufal Ibrahim / EPA
Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad invited Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte to visit in March. In this picture, he attends the Ministerial Level Conference at the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq at Bayan Palace in Kuwait City, Kuwait, on February 14, 2018. Noufal Ibrahim / EPA

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed invited Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte to visit after a Filipina maid was found dead in a freezer in Kuwait City, the state media has reported.

Kuwait's deputy foreign minister Khalid Al Jarallah said on Monday that the two countries had agreed to sign a deal to regulate working conditions.

"We proposed to the Philippine authorities to resolve and contain these issues and not to escalate them in the media. There was agreement on this … and we received a response," he was quoted as saying by the state-run Kuna news agency.

It was not immediately clear if Mr Duterte had accepted Kuwait's invitation to visit early next month.

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Mr Duterte arranged free flights for Filipino residents wishing to leave Kuwait after the body of Joanna Daniela Demafelis was discovered in an abandoned apartment in the capital on February 6.

Kuwait had said that the repatriations was an unnecessary escalation of a diplomatic rift.

Two planes full of workers arrived in Manila from Kuwait last week on flights provided for free by commercial airlines at the president's request. The Philippine labour minister has said more than 2,200 Filipinos were ready to take up the offer to be repatriated.

In January, the Philippines suspended sending workers to the Gulf country after reports that their citizens were being abused by some employers.

About 250,000 Filipino workers are in Kuwait. Many work as domestic help.