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EU envoys staying put

By: Genalyn D. Kabiling

The government is apparently still allowing the ambassadors from the European Union stay in the country after the regional bloc has denied it was seeking the ouster of the country from the United Nations.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella has clarified that there was no longer a directive for the EU envoys to leave the country.

Abella explained that President Duterte’s threat to expel the EU ambassadors last Thursday was in response to a statement of a foreign delegation protesting the drug killings under Duterte’s watch.

The seven-member group International Delegates of Progressive Alliance, which recently visited the country, falsely portrayed itself as an official EU mission, according to Abella.

“The European delegation yesterday (Thursday) they issued a clarification that – it cleared the air, in other words, that the seven-man team was not the EU itself,” he said during a Palace news conference.

In a fiery profanity-laced speech last Thursday, Duterte accused the EU of allegedly plotting the expulsion of the Philippines from the world body. Duterte also threatened to expel the EU ambassadors within 24 hours amid allegations the bloc was interfering with domestic affairs.

Prior to the President’s remarks, the EU issued no statement seeking the country’s removal from the UN. The Human Rights Watch had issued the warning the country might lose its membership from the UN Human Rights Council if the rights abuses linked to the drug war are not stopped.

Reacting to the President’s tirade, the EU delegation in the Philippines clarified that the foreign delegation that visited Manila was not on an official mission of the EU. It also disputed allegations it was moving to expel the country from the UN, saying the EU continues to work with the Philippines.