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Philippine leader in Saudi to discuss labour

RIYADH, February 3 – Philippine President Gloria Arroyo is holding talks in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday that are expected to focus on the supply of labour to the oil-rich kingdom.

Filipino community leaders in Saudi Arabia have also urged Arroyo to make a plea to the government to grant clemency to several Filipinos facing the death penalty, the English-language Arab News said.

As many as one million Filipinos work in the Arab world\’s largest economy, especially as nurses, drivers, mechanics and shop attendants.

Arroyo, who arrived late on Monday, is expected to meet Saudi government officials in Riyadh, a Philippine diplomat told AFP without elaborating. She is due to leave later Tuesday for Bahrain.

The Philippines is currently discussing a broad agreement with Saudi Arabia on the supply of workers to the kingdom, according to media reports.

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