Kuwait has condemned the Philippine government’s ban on deployments of overseas Filipino workers to the country.

Kuwait Times reports that, on Tuesday, Kuwait’s foreign minister, Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah, branded the Philippine government’s total ban on OFWs in Kuwait an “escalation” of the ongoing dispute between the countries and said it would not serve relations well.

“We condemn the statements of the Philippine president, especially since we are in contact with the Philippines at the highest level to fully explain the state of the Filipino workforce in Kuwait,” Al-Sabah said.

He added that the majority of Filipinos in Kuwait live a decent life. “Separate accidents unfortunately happen, and we are providing our Filipino counterparts with the results of the investigations,” he said.

Last month, the Philippine government suspended the deployment of new Filipino workers to Kuwait amid several cases of abuse and multiple deaths. President Rodrigo Duterte said he would consider imposing a total ban on OFWs in Kuwait if another Filipina domestic worker was raped or died.

On February 8, a Filipina domestic worker’s body was discovered by Kuwaiti police in a freezer in an apartment. This prompted the Philippine government to issue a total ban on workers and to repatriate all Filipinos from Kuwait.

Read: Government suspends deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait

Read: Filipina maid’s body found in freezer in Kuwait flat

Read: Philippines issues total ban on sending workers to Kuwait