Philippines urges non-escalation of situation in Middle East

Philippines urges non-escalation of situation in Middle East

/ 10:16 AM April 15, 2024

PH urges non-escalation of situation in Middle East

The Philippine government is calling for a non-escalation of the situation in the Middle East, as it expressed “deep concern” over the increasing tension in the region.. INQUIRER STOCK IMAGE

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government called for a non-escalation of the situation in the Middle East, as it expressed “deep concern” over the increasing tension in the region.

The Philippines’ appeal, conveyed through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), came after the Portuguese container ship MSC Aries, reportedly linked to Israel, was seized by Iranian forces on April 13.


Iran’s strike on Israel then followed the seizure of the vessel.


READ: Timeline: What key recent events led to Iran’s assault on Israel

“We urge all parties to refrain from escalating the situation and to work towards a peaceful resolution of their conflict,” the DFA said in a statement Monday.

“The Philippines has long advocated for all states to adhere to the principles of international law and to the peaceful settlement of disputes,” it added.

Among the crew members of MSC Aries are four Filipinos. Based on reports, other seafarers held hostage by Iran are from Russia, India, Pakistan, and Estonia.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega, in a radio interview on Monday, said all the seafarers aboard the container ship are safe and healthy. He added that they may be freed soon, but there’s no word yet on the definite day of their release.


It was not the first time that a vessel carrying Filipino seamen was seized in the waters of Middle East.

READ: UN chief: Middle East, world cannot ‘afford more war’

In November 2023, the MV Galaxy Leader ship carrying 17 Filipino seafarers was seized in the Red Sea by Houthi rebels. This was followed by Iran’s January seizure of MV Saint Nikolas, where 18 Filipinos were on board.

Meanwhile, MV True Confidence, whose crew included 13 Filipinos, was attacked by a Houthi missile in the Red Sea on March 6. The incident killed two Filipinos and one Vietnamese.

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On April 14, Israel said Iran launched more than 300 drones, cruise and ballistic missiles, an extraordinary assault that was thwarted almost entirely by Israel’s aerial defense array and a coalition of countries repelling the onslaught. While no major damage is caused, the world braces for Israel’s response.

Iran said its attack on Israel was only a response to the April 1 air strike on Tehran’s consulate building in the Syrian capital, Damascus, widely blamed on Israel. The strike in Damascus killed two Iranian generals.

TAGS: Iran-Israel, Philippines

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