KUWAIT CITY, Jan 4: The Cabinet on Monday strongly condemned protesters’ “hostile acts” against the Saudi embassy and consulate in Iran, including storming, torching and sabotage. Today’s meeting, held at Seif Palace, was chaired by Acting Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.
The ministers stressed that these acts constitute “blatant violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 on a country’s commitment to the protection of diplomatic missions and their premises, as well as the safety of staff,” said Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah. Holding the Iranian authorities fully responsible for this, the Cabinet reiterated that Kuwait stands side by side with the Kingdom, supporting all measures Riyadh adopts to maintain its security and stability.
Meanwhile, Arab Parliamentary Union President and Speaker of Kuwait’s National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim has condemned the recent attacks on the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad, Iran. In a press statement Monday, Al-Ghanim asserted the attacks are considered an affront to the duty of any country to protect diplomatic missions and their employees. Al-Ghanim, who is now on official visit to Geneva, announced that he will call for a closed emergency legislative session upon his return to Kuwait in order to discuss the current situation in the region. He pointed out the latest developments in the regional arena necessitates the return of dialogue in Abdullah Al-Salem Hall for the MPs to present their views on the issue in accordance with democratic principles in order to protect national interests.
He reiterated his call for the MPs to rally behind the political leadership and the captain of the ship, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al -Sabah, who continues to prove his wisdom in taking local, regional and international positions. He added the ‘storms’ being experienced by the region and the whole world entail that lawmakers must be vigilant and prudent in performing their duties as representatives of the nation and to fully support HH the Amir.
In addition, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee MP Kamel Al-Awadhi also denounced the attacks, stressing that the responsibility to protect embassies and diplomatic missions in Iran lies in the hands of Iranian authorities as per the international norms and laws. He said Kuwait strongly supports the right of Saudi Arabia and stands by its side through thick and thin, affirming the Gulf countries belong to one block and have one fate. He asserted the statement of the late Saudi King Fahd during the Iraqi invasion, “Either Kuwait returns or Saudi Arabia goes with it,” is not a slogan but a fact; so Kuwait did not and will not forsake Saudi Arabia or any Gulf country. He referred to the strengths of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, particularly their pivotal role in the region. He said Saudi Arabia is the big sister and security valve of the Gulf while Iran is a neighbor and an active regional power.
He emphasized the need to work together in maintaining stability and security in the Gulf, as well as defuse tension and conflict through diplomatic means and dialogue. He also stressed the need to overcome differences and conflicts while dealing with disputes wisely, away from chaos and negative reactions. He said that what happened must be the end of tensions, not a beginning; because it may drag the whole region into a state of instability and chaos – a situation that not be in favor of anyone. He hopes the leaders of the two countries reach a strategic agreement to address a number of problems in the region.
MP Dr Abdullah Al-Turaiji asserted the declaration of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to cut diplomatic ties with Iran is a normal and proper procedure for a country which respects its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and rejects foreign interference in its affairs. He pointed out Tehran has been stirring up trouble in many countries, such as Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and others.
He added the attempts of Iranian politicians to give excuses that the burning of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and the Saudi consulate in the Iranian city of Mashhad were individual actions and do not reflect the official position are regarded as a desperate attempt to beautify the gloomy image of Iran. He claimed there are many proofs of blatant Iranian interference in GCC and Arab countries. He explained the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has taken the proper procedure in line with its sovereignty, especially after the burning of its embassy in Tehran and Iran’s attempt to discredit the fair judicial decisions on terrorist and subversive acts. He said the international community must make a stand against the ambitions of Iran.
He underscored the need to take a firm stance against Tehran, “which continues with its barbaric attacks and intervention in our affairs, ignoring the most basic items of international conventions on good neighborliness. There will be dire consequences if this aggressor is not deterred from committing foolish acts condemned by Arab and international organizations and institutions, as well as the provisions of the Kuwaiti judiciary which convicted Iran of spying on our country.” He confirmed that maintaining security of the Kingdom will reflect positively on the State of Kuwait and the Gulf Cooperation Council, which stood and still stands firmly against the evil intentions of Iran. On another issue, MP Mohammed Al-Huwailah continues to present more recommendations for the diversification of the country’s sources of income. He proposed the development of Kuwaiti islands to become what he called an “oasis for tourism and finance.” In his proposal, the MP explained that Kuwaiti islands are natural resources which must be utilized for the betterment of the country.
He suggested establishing numerous tourist attractions like resorts, high-end restaurants, entertainment facilities and sports clubs on the islands. He asserted all GCC countries are currently working on this aspect of development in order to diversify sources of income and to support the State financially. He added Kuwait has nine islands and each of them has unique traits due to their locations. He thinks this will give investors more options in terms of the islands they will invest in. He also proposed the creation of an independent body to handle tourism affairs and monitor projects in this sector. As the meeting started, the Cabinet meeting was informed of a message from the UN Development Program (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Clark highly appreciated Kuwait’s contributions, initiatives and fruitful cooperation with the international community to assist the Syrian refugees.
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff and Agencies