Amir opens Assembly term with call for unity, resolving Gulf row

Assembly delays grillings, elects Audit Bureau chief, panels

Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah waves during the opening ceremony of the new legislative year at the National Assembly in Kuwait City, on October 29, 2019.

KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah yesterday opened the new term of the National Assembly by calling for national unity in the face of explosive regional tensions and unrest, and also urged a quick resolution to the Gulf dispute. The Amir, in his first official public appearance in about two months after travelling to the US for medical tests, thanked citizens and expatriates for their good wishes over his return to the country.

HH the Amir said the region is passing through unprecedented difficult situations, as a number of Arab countries are witnessing escalation and instability, warning of the dangerous consequences of these events on “our security, stability and the future of our next generations”. In the wake of such dangerous developments, the Amir said it is no longer acceptable for the row between Qatar and its neighbors to continue and a resolution must be found quickly.

The Amir was referring to the dispute that began two and a half years ago after Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a total boycott against Qatar for allegedly supporting radical groups, a charge Qatar has denied. The Amir has been mediating to find a negotiated settlement to the crisis, which he said has greatly weakened the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. The Amir called for national unity and strongly criticized “the deviation of social media” that have become tools to trigger and fuel divisions in the society, urging a swift and coordinated effort to end this phenomenon.

During the opening session, the National Assembly agreed to delay the debate of two grillings against the ministers of finance and public works until the next session on Nov 12. The Assembly also elected in a closed session former liberal MP Faisal Al-Shaye as the new chairman of the State Audit Bureau, which was led by Adel Al-Saraawi, another former lawmaker, in the capacity of acting chairman. Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said Shaye was elected with a big margin and praised Saraawi for leading the Audit Bureau in the past few years.

The Assembly then elected members to its main committees, most of them by unanimous vote, as pro-government MPs maintained their firm grip on key panels including the financial and economic affairs, legal and legislative, and interior and defense committees. In his speech, Ghanem called for an end to “political games” and “meaningless arguments” that could lead to the destruction of the homeland in the wake of the extremely serious developments not far from Kuwait’s borders.
He warned that “internal wars” lead to catastrophic and highly destructive outcomes, adding that those who fail internally may never recover in the future. The speaker also called on lawmakers to upgrade their political performance in a bid to help Kuwait sail through regional turmoil.

HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah reiterated that the government will continue to strengthen its ties and cooperation with the Assembly for the benefit of the nation. He said the government recently referred to the Assembly a number of draft laws to promote development and will send more soon. He said the government recently completed strategic projects like Jaber Causeway and the new university, adding that the country will witness major improvement in its health sector.

By B Izzak