Government briefs lawmakers over Kuwait’s readiness

KUWAIT: Lawmakers, ministers and security officials hold a meeting yesterday over the situation in Iraq. – Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh

KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said after a meeting with the government yesterday that there was no cause for concern over demonstrations in southern Iraq, but stressed that Kuwait is taking all necessary precautions. The meeting was attended by acting prime minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah, in addition to other ministers and as many as 23 lawmakers. It was also attended by senior commanders of the army, the police and the national guard.

“Based on what has been raised during the meeting, I can say there is no cause for concern or panic at all, but there is a need for caution and readiness, especially since we in Kuwait had a bitter experience during the (1990) Iraqi invasion of Kuwait,” Ghanem told reporters. He said that the foreign minister informed the meeting that the government is coordinating with Iraq at a high level, adding that the government was prepared in case the situation escalated into Iraqis crossing the Kuwaiti borders, creating a refugee crisis.

The meeting was called by MPs after thousands of Iraqis demonstrated against their government in southern Iraq and who came close to the borders with Kuwait. Ghanem said the armed forces’ commanders also made presentations to the lawmakers on the situation. He said Kuwait does not interfere in Iraq’s domestic affairs but the government said it is coordinating with Iraqi authorities. Ghanem said Kuwait does not want to inflate the events, but at the same time wants to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

He said that the government informed lawmakers that there was no military or security threat against Kuwait from the Iraqi unrest, and that the Kuwaiti government has contacted its allies for any help and also contacted humanitarian organizations in the event of any refugee problem. The speaker said the government’s readiness for any eventuality is reassuring and called for consolidating national unity. Ghanem said various government authorities are closely coordinating over the issue and in order to ensure food and other supplies in case the situation deteriorates.

Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh said the government informed lawmakers that there was no military or security threat to Kuwait but the government is ready for all developments. He said that there is no cause for concern and Kuwait is keen to see stability and security in Iraq. The minister said Kuwait stands besides Iraq and recalled Kuwait recently hosted an Iraq reconstruction conference.

By B Izzak