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Philippines sends delegation to Iran for assisting release of 17 seafarer hostages

IANS | November 30, 2023 03:19 PM

MANILA: The Philippines will send a high-level delegation to Iran for assisting the release of 17 Filipino seafarers who were taken hostage last week by Yemen's Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, President Ferdinand Marcos said on Thursday.

In a post on X, the President said: "In light of important developments in the hostage situation involving 17 Filipino seafarers in the Red Sea, I have made the decision not to attend COP28 in Dubai tomorrow (Friday).

"Today, I will be convening a meeting to facilitate the dispatch of a high-level delegation to Tehran, Iran, with the aim of providing necessary assistance to our seafarers."

The 17 Filipino seafarers were among the crew members of a cargo vessel taken hostage by the Iran-backed Houthi militia in the Red Sea.

The Houthis confirmed on November 19 their hijacking of the "Israeli cargo ship".

Citing "government sources", Teresita Daza, spokesperson for the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs, said that "the hostages are in good condition and will eventually be released".

"Efforts are ongoing for this to happen as soon as possible, " Daza added.

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