KUWAIT: Lawmakers yesterday strongly lashed out at Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel after they claimed an announcer deliberately slandered and insulted Kuwait. Saudi news anchor Sarah Darandawi was reading a story about Qatar reportedly lowering the price of alcohol in preparation for the World Cup 2022, which Doha is hosting.
After finishing the story, the anchor commented “we are waiting for comments by their friends in Kuwait over this Qatari generosity”, a clear reference to Kuwait’s neutral stance in the two-year old feud between Qatar on one hand and Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt on the other. The four countries imposed a total boycott against Qatar accusing it of backing terrorists. At the same time, Kuwait’s Amir and government remained neutral and have exerted great efforts to end the rift.
Lawmakers and social media activists strongly criticized the announcer, describing her action as “insolence” and insulting to the country, insisting that Kuwait has not taken sides in the rift but made huge mediation efforts to resolve it. The information ministry issued a statement yesterday strongly criticizing the Dubai-based channel for the insult. It said Kuwait refuses to get involved in matters that do not concern the country, deploring remarks by the news anchor on Al-Arabiya as tantamount to a grave insult.
Kuwait will always be committed to the unity of the Gulf region through its efforts to quell any internal discord, read a statement by the ministry, which called for an end to malicious media campaigns that are detrimental to ties within the Gulf bloc. Kuwait has contacted Al-Arabiya television officials and will respond appropriately in order to sort out the issue, added the statement.
MP Riyadh Al-Adasani said yesterday he had cancelled a scheduled interview with Al-Arabiya in protest against the action, insisting that Kuwait had always tried to resolve the Gulf crisis. MP Abdulkarim Al-Kandari said the news channel’s action is a flagrant attempt to involve Kuwait in the Gulf dispute, although Kuwait’s position is very clear in this issue. MP Khaled Al-Otaibi said Al-Arabiya action is a moral violation and an attempt to sow division between Kuwait and other Gulf states. MP Abdulwahab Al-Babtain said Kuwait will not be deterred by such cheap attempts and will continue to mediate to resolve the Gulf crisis.
By B Izzak