Philippines recalls ambassador to Canada over garbage row

An environmental activist wear a mock container vans filled with garbage shipped from Canada as they hold a protest outside the Canadian embassy on May 7, 2015. (AP)
Updated 16 May 2019
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Philippines recalls ambassador to Canada over garbage row

  • Philippines says trash was dumped illegally
  • Canada missed deadline to take back waste

MANILA, Philippines: The Philippines on Thursday said it was recalling its ambassador and consuls to Canada over a row about waste.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he ordered the recall after Canada missed a May 15 deadline to retrieve the trash, which the government says was illegally shipped and dumped in the country in 2013 and 2014.

“At midnight last night, letters for the recall of our ambassador and consuls to Canada went out. They are expected here in a day or so,” Locsin tweeted. “Canada missed the May 15 deadline. And we shall maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada until its garbage is ship bound there.”

The presidential palace previously said it could accept a “reasonable delay” in shipping out the Canadian garbage due to administrative requirements.

“That the government may consider a 2 or 3 week delay does not extend the deadline,” Locsin tweeted, explaining in a further post what had prompted him to issue the recall order. 

“At the Japanese enthronement ceremony, DOF (Department of Finance) informed me that Canada did not show up at a meeting with Customs and that was the trigger.”

A spokesman for the presidential palace, Salvador Panelo, said the recall was intended to put pressure on Canada.

He told media that Canada’s refusal to take back its garbage was “disruptive of our diplomatic relations.” 

“The recall shows that we are very serious in asking them to get back their garbage. Otherwise, we are going to sever our relations with them," Panelo said, adding there was no point in having bilateral relations if there was no sincerity on Canada’s part.

“What the Canadian authorities are saying is they are doing their best to bring back the garbage, but I can’t even understand because they can do that, if I were the prime minister (Justin Trudeau) that's easy to do," Panelo said.

“The president’s position is very clear. You should remove that, otherwise our relations are over.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs said there were 837,130 people in Canada of Filipino ethnic origin as of 2016.

Panelo said the garbage row would not affect Filipinos in Canada. “Whatever the consequence, this government will be protective of the interests of our countrymen in any part of the world.”
 


Portugal suspends visas for Iranians for 'security reasons'

Updated 16 July 2019
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Portugal suspends visas for Iranians for 'security reasons'

  • Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said Portugal does not play around with entry into its territory

LISBON: Portugal has suspended the issuance of entry visas for Iranian nationals for unspecified security reasons, Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.
Answering a question from a committee member on whether such a move had been taken, Santos Silva said during the televised meeting: “Yes, we suspended those for security reasons ... I will provide explanations later, but not publicly.”
“Portugal does not play around with entry into its territory,” he added, without disclosing when the decision was taken.
The chairman declared the meeting closed after about two hours without further off-camera testimony.
Joao Goncalves Pereira, the lawmaker from the conservative CDS-PP party who asked the question, told Reuters: “We received information that visas for Iranians had been suspended for two or three weeks, and we just wanted to confirm that.”
He would not say what was the source of that original information or whether any Iranian nationals had complained about the situation.
Foreign ministry officials had no immediate comment and nobody was available for comment in the Iranian embassy in Lisbon.