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Panel votes citizenship for 4,000 Bedouns EXTRADITION...POLITICAL CRIMES SPARK HEATED DEBATE

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 6: The Foreign Affairs Committee discussed Thursday the political and security aspects of the Gulf Security Agreement in the presence of the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Interior and Justice; as well as the National Assembly speaker, says Committee Rapporteur MP Hamdan Al-Azmi. According to Al-Azmi, the committee erupted in heated debate over certain aspects of the agreement as they were deemed a violation against Kuwait’s constitution. Due to the sensitivity of the matter at hand, the panel decided to postpone voting on the agreement until the next meeting slated for March 4 to pave the way for revision and clarification of ambiguous points.

The rapporteur added that while the government answered inquiries by MPs regarding the agreement, some queries were left unanswered; confirming the panel’s opinion on the agreement. He revealed the stipulation on the extradition of suspects sparked a heated discussion amongst MPs, in addition to the term, ‘political crime’, as it was not defined comprehensively. He pointed out the term is very broad and it might lead to loopholes or controversies, if not defined properly.

Meanwhile, MP Riyadh Al- Adsani firmly rejected the agreement; stating it goes against the country’s constitution and interferes with the sovereignty of the State of Kuwait. He added that since the agreement is associated with external security, the minister of defense should have been present instead of the interior minister.

He argued the agreement includes stipulations on restricting freedom; disclosing that he was hoping to see more financial and industrial cooperation arrangements, similar to the European Union. On the contrary, the Parliament speaker said after the committee meeting that the agreement does not contravene the constitution. In another development, Head of the Interior and Defense Committee MP Askar Al-Enizi disclosed majority of the panel members voted in favor of the proposal to grant citizenship to 4,000 Bedouns.

He asserted the government has not granted citizenship to Bedouns since 2008 and he hopes the situation will change this year. He affirmed, “We are all working towards fulfilling this objective, considering the interior minister, who attended the meeting, remains committed to the same cause.

Corroborating Al-Enizi’s statement, MP Mohammed Tanna asserted the minister exhibited keen interest in solving the Bedoun issue during the meeting. He added the panel discussed the security issues related to the proposal to grant citizenship to Bedouns and the minister vowed to set a timetable for addressing these issues. He said the minister also pointed out the lack of DNA identification system for fingerprints, so he intends to work on this to make the process easier for Bedouns. Furthermore, MPs showed interest in the youth and sports sectors last week as they submitted queries and proposals to improve the local sports sector.

By: Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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