Category: Gulf Land of Kuwait


August 2, 2017

Kuwait has started extensive contacts with the World Bank to prepare for hosting a donor conference for the reconstruction of the Iraqi areas that have been liberated from Daesh control, Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah announced yesterday.

Speaking in an event that was held at the Iraqi embassy to celebrate the liberation of Iraq’s northern city of Mosul, Al-Jarallah said that “there was no date set for the conference,” adding that “it is likely to be in the first quarter of next year [2018].”

“Kuwait has always stood by Iraq via the international coalition (fighting Daesh) and bilaterally,” the Kuwaiti minister noted.

Al-Jarallah pointed out that “there is coordination and harmony between Kuwait and Iraq to overcome any problems that may occur.” He also congratulated the Iraqi people on the recapture of Mosul from Daesh.

On 11 July, Kuwaiti Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, told the Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider Al-Abadi, in a phone call that his country was ready to host an international conference on rebuilding the liberated areas in Iraq.

The World Bank had also welcomed the initiative, stressing that it would support the long-term reconstruction of the liberated areas in Iraq.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170802-kuwait-to-hold-international-conference-on-rebuilding-iraq/.

November 27, 2016

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Opposition members are set to return to Kuwait’s parliament after a more than three-year absence, though only one woman secured a place in the legislature, elections results released Sunday showed.

Kuwaitis voted Saturday for representatives in the oil-rich country’s 50-member parliament, the most empowered among the Gulf Arab states. The election was held against the backdrop of lingering security concerns following a deadly suicide bombing last year, as well as anxiety over the depth of cutbacks to generous state-funded perks driven by a slump in oil revenues.

The gains by the opposition are unlikely to seriously upend the tiny Western-allied country’s political order. Parliament still appears to be controlled by pro-government lawmakers, who have the authority to question government ministers. Power in the country ultimately remains with the hereditary emir.

Six prominent opposition figures who have taken part in street protests secured seats in Saturday’s vote. So did 13 political newcomers, including four backed by different Kuwaiti youth liberal groups and nine representing tribal groupings.

Political parties are illegal in Kuwait, meaning opposition blocs tend to be fluid and form alliances around particular issues. Safaa al-Hashem was the only woman to win one of the 50 seats up for grabs in Saturday’s election. The liberal candidate has served in previous parliaments, and was one of 15 women who ran for seats.

The tribal opposition along with its conservative Muslim allies boycotted the last elections in 2013 in a dispute over changes to the electoral law that they alleged reduced their clout. Members of Kuwait’s substantial Shiite Muslim minority saw their share of seats fall to six from nine previously.

A new Cabinet is now expected to be formed within a week. The 15-seat Cabinet is appointed by the prime minster, who in turn is appointed by the emir.

May 18, 2016

The Yemeni government delegation on Tuesday has walked out of talks in Kuwait saying rebels insist on power sharing in violation of UN resolutions.

A source in the government delegation told Anadolu news agency that the delegation will issue a formal statement later in the day adding that the delegation intends to stay in Kuwait.

Yemen’s Saba News Agency (state owned) reported Foreign Minister, Abdulmalek Al-Mikhlafi who heads the government delegation as saying that he had asked UN envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed to oblige the rebels to respect the negotiations references as precondition to return.

Anadolu news agency reported sources close to the talks earlier as saying that the rebels had asked to transfer President Hadi powers to a transitional council which includes them before they withdraw from cities they control.

According to sources the rebels have also asked to respect the peace and partnership agreement signed in September, 21 2014.

President Hadi has described the agreement void after moving to Aden in February 2015, saying it was signed under force of arms.

Meanwhile, the UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed on Monday said the two sides were still discussing the best way to reach a peaceful solution in Yemen after nearly 4 weeks of fruitless talks.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20160518-yemeni-government-delegation-pulls-out-of-kuwait-consultations/.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Kuwaiti riot police have dispersed hundreds of Kuwaiti opposition activists who gathered outside parliament in the capital Kuwait City to demand the release of political prisoners and press for democratic reforms in the country.

The head of the Civil Democratic Movement, Tareq Al-Mutairi, said that: “everyone must assume his responsibilities towards reform… We are not asking the elected government for favors, only for our just rights. All we want is to run our own affairs, and we do not argue with the ruling party because we have democratic system in Kuwait.”

Activist Nawaf Alhandal said he was beaten by the Special Forces while the Ministry of Interior prevented the protesters from using chairs, carpets, microphones or banners at the protest venue.

The protest organizing committee said that the Interior Ministry attacked them and that the political forces will meet and issue a statement later.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/17669-kuwaiti-police-break-up-opposition-protest-calling-for-political-reform.

2014-03-13

DAMASCUS – Syria has decided to close its embassies in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia because they have refused to accept the accreditations of its envoys, diplomats posted in Damascus said on Wednesday.

“Syria’s embassies in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are to close because these countries have been refusing to accredit the diplomats sent by Damascus since the start of the crisis,” one of the sources said.

The Arab monarchies of the Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have supported the three-year-old armed revolt in Syria and called for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad.

Source: Middle East Online.

Link: http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=64808.

2014-06-16

KUWAIT CITY – A Kuwaiti human rights organization on Sunday urged the Gulf state to fulfil pledges to abolish the sponsorship system for foreign labor and to end the arbitrary deportation of expatriates.

In a report on human rights in the oil-rich emirate, the Kuwait Society for Human Rights also called for measures to end abuse of thousands of domestic workers and for a final resolution to the plight of more than 100,000 stateless people.

The group said that Kuwait pledged several years ago to end the sponsor system which is likened to slavery and common in Gulf States, but so far nothing has been done.

The current system ties a migrant worker’s residency status to an individual employer, or sponsor, without whose consent the worker cannot change jobs.

This gives employers unchecked leverage and control over workers, who remain completely dependent on their sponsor.

A few weeks ago, neighboring Qatar said it was introducing measures to abolish the system.

The Kuwaiti group also called for an end to so-called administrative deportation which allows police to deport foreigners without a court ruling.

However, it noted that the interior ministry has recently regulated the procedure by restricting the right to deport to the ministry’s undersecretary.

Some 2.8 million expatriates work in Kuwait compared with 1.25 million nationals. More than 600,000 expatriates are domestic workers.

The society urged the government to pass a special law on domestic workers to stop abuses that it said are tantamount to slavery.

“Domestic helpers are subjected to many abuses, some of which could be called slavery, in addition to torture, humiliation and rape. The society has monitored a large number of such violations,” the report said.

On stateless people, known locally as bidoons, the society urged speedy measures to improve their humanitarian and legal as a prelude to “granting them their full rights”.

Bidoons claim the right to Kuwaiti citizenship because they or their forefathers lived in the country before the 1959 nationality law.

But the government says a majority of them came from neighboring countries after the discovery of oil, and destroyed their identification papers.

The society said the government should adopt a clear roadmap aimed at resolving the problem in steps.

Source: Middle East Online.

Link: http://middle-east-online.com/english/?id=66560.

Friday, 14 March 2014

The permanent representative of Kuwait to the United Nations, Mansour Al-Otaibi, has revealed that the Arab Group is calling for securing permanent representation in the United Nations Security Council.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Al-Otaibi said during the intergovernmental negotiations on Thursday night about Security Council reforms that the multiplicity of Arab issues considered by the Security Council reflects the importance of having permanent Arab representation to ensure the delivery of Arab views during the Security Council’s deliberations on a continuous basis, so as to enhance its working methods.

Al-Otaibi pointed out that the Security Council aims to secure regional representation for all geographical groups, and that the Arab Group represents nearly 350 million people and has a membership of 22 countries, which is equivalent to 12 per cent of the United Nations general membership.

The Kuwaiti official also stressed that the Arab Group is keen to contribute actively in the Security Council’s discussions in order to reach solutions that enhance the Security Council’s democratic transparency and its working methods.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/10306-arab-group-calls-for-permanent-representation-in-the-security-council.

Thu Mar 13, 2014

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have arrested two members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood at Cairo’s request, Egypt’s top prosecutor has said.

The prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Wednesday that the two men were arrested after Egypt’s interim government put an international arrest warrant on them for “inciting violence” in the city of Port Said in 2013.

“The office of the public prosecutor has received a notification of the arrest of Akram al-Shaer by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the accused Mohamed al-Qabouti by the state of Kuwait,” the statement said.

Al-Shaer was head of the health committee in parliament during ousted Mohamed Morsi’s presidency.

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have reportedly pumped billions of dollars into Egypt since the army ousted Egypt’s first democratically-elected president last July and suspended the country’s constitution and dissolved the parliament.

Egypt declared the Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist” group late last year and accused its members of being responsible for a deadly bomb attack on a police headquarters building in the Delta Nile city of Mansoura in December 2013.

The Brotherhood, however, condemned the attack and denied involvement in the incident.

Last week, Riyadh followed Egypt’s suit to declare the 86-year-old group a terrorist organization.

Anti-government demonstrations have continued unabated across Egypt since Morsi’s ouster despite a heavy-handed crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters.

Human Rights Watch has denounced Egypt’s interim government for blacklisting the Brotherhood, saying the move “appears to be aimed at expanding the crackdown on peaceful Brotherhood activities and imposing harsh sanctions on its supporters.”

Source: PressTV.

Link: http://edition.presstv.ir/detail/354459.html.

2013-07-27

By Omar Hasan – KUWAIT CITY

Kuwaitis voted on Saturday in the Gulf emirate’s second parliamentary election in eight months with turnout the key issue as the opposition urged a boycott.

A correspondent saw few voters at a polling station in Al-Qasia, just south of Kuwait City, when polls opened at 8 am (0500 GMT) although turnout picked up later.

Information Minister Sheikh Salman Humoud Al-Sabah said turnout was high after visiting a polling station in Jahra, west of Kuwait City.

It was the first time that an election had been called in Kuwait during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when the observant fast during the day.

Daytime temperatures were forecast to hit 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) in a further disincentive to voters.

It was the second time that the opposition had called for a boycott in protest at an electoral law that it says enables the ruling Al-Sabah family-controlled government to manipulate the outcome.

The law was ruled legal in June by the constitutional court, even though it dissolved parliament on procedural flaws and ordered Saturday’s election.

But its judgment failed to satisfy the opposition dashing hopes of an end to a deadlock between the two sides that has seen the oil-rich Gulf state go to the polls six times in as many years.

“I just hope this parliament completes its (four-year) term,” said civil aviation employee Bassam Eid, after he cast his vote in Al-Qasia.

“We are frustrated at the repeated dissolution of the house,” Eid said.

The last two parliaments were dissolved by the constitutional court on procedural grounds, while the previous houses were dissolved by the emir.

“I am really concerned at the turn of events in the country as there will be no development without political stability which we hope will be achieved after this election,” doctor Jawad Abulhassan said after voting.

Pensioner Umm Mohammad said she hoped for an end to the disputes plaguing the country but was not that optimistic.

“We earnestly hope to see political stability in the country after this poll… We are still afraid that this might not happen,” she said after casting her vote at a polling station reserved for women in Jabriya, south of Kuwait City.

Some groups that boycotted last time round — notably the liberal National Democratic Alliance and some of the emirate’s powerful tribes — were taking part on Saturday.

But only a few opposition members were among the 300 hopefuls.

They include eight women, the lowest number of female candidates since women won political rights in 2005.

Around 30 Arab election observers visited some of the polling stations and were assisted by monitors from the Kuwait Transparency Society.

The opposition failed to mobilize the support on the street it succeeded in getting out ahead of the last election but has remained adamant that it will not take part in a “corrupted” political system.

Just days before polling day, the authorities arrested at least four candidates and dozens of their campaign staff on suspicion of attempted vote-buying.

Although Kuwait has the Gulf’s oldest elected parliament, all key government posts are held by members of the ruling Al-Sabah family which has ruled the country without challenge for over 250 years.

Analysts see little hope the election will bring political stability to the emirate, which has been rocked by lingering disputes since mid-2006, stalling development despite an abundance of petrodollars.

Kuwait has a population of 3.9 million, but just 31 percent are citizens and of that 1.23 million just 440,000 are eligible to vote.

The voting age is 21 and Kuwaitis serving in the police or army are barred from taking part.

The first results were not expected until after midnight (2100 GMT) as ballot papers are still counted manually in Kuwait.

The OPEC member says it sits on 10 percent of global crude reserves and pumps around 3.0 million barrels of oil per day. Thanks to high prices, the emirate has amassed around $400 billion in assets over the past decade.

Source: Middle East Online.
Link: http://middle-east-online.com/english/?id=60376.

2013-07-25

GENEVA – A United Nations body that handles war reparations for Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait said Thursday it had handed over a further $1.07 billion (810 million euros) to the emirate.

The payment, related to damage to oil facilities and resulting financial losses, brings to $42.3 billion the total sum handed out by the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC).

Some $10.1 billion awarded by the UNCC to a string of claimants still remains to be paid out.

In addition to Kuwait, more than 100 governments and international organizations have been allocated funds by the UNCC for distribution to 1.5 million successful claimants.

The UNCC was set up by the UN Security Council in 1991, the year that a US-led coalition drove then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait.

Its funds are drawn from a UN-mandated levy of five percent on Iraqi oil exports, whose continued existence has come in for criticism given that Saddam was ousted in 2003 in the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Source: Middle East Online.

Link: http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=60342.