11th ruler of Kuwait signed ‘document’
KUWAIT CITY, June 18, (KUNA): Kuwait will mark on Tuesday the 57th anniversary of ending the British protection and declaring its independence on June 19, 1961. The independence document was signed by the then Amir late Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, the 11th ruler of Kuwait, who was also named the “Father of Independence”, and the British commissioner for the Arabian Gulf Sir George Middleton, on behalf of his government.
The document abolished the agreement signed by late Amir Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, the 7th ruler of Kuwait, with Britain on Jan 23, 1899, to protect Kuwait against external ambitions. Upon declaring the independence, the late Amir Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem, whose rule extended from 1950 to 1965, delivered a speech on the occasion in which he said: “On this memorable day of our beloved nation, on which we transfer from one phase to another phase of history and fold another page of the past with all its components and contents, to open a new page represented in this treaty which you read now, whereby Kuwait gained its full independence and sovereignty.” After the independence, an Amiri Decree was issued identifying the form of Kuwait’s post-independence flag.
On the constitutional level, the first step was crystallized on August 26, 1961 with the enactment of the Amiri Decree calling for general elections to choose members of the constituent council to draft the country’s constitution. Within nine months, the council finalized the draft constitution, consisting of 183 articles, which was submitted to Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, who ratified and passed it on the same day, Nov 11, 1962.
On the political level, an Amiri decree was issued on Aug 19, 1961 to establish a foreign department that shall be in charge of the state’s foreign affairs and merge Kuwait government secretariat in the foreign department, which turned with the 1st ministerial formation into the ministry of foreign affairs. In 1962, Sheikh Sabah Al-Salem was appointed as a foreign minister in the first cabinet lineup, to be followed up by His Highness the current Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah who was appointed the minister of foreign affairs in the second cabinet, issued on Jan 28, 1963.
On foreign relations, Kuwait submitted an application for membership in the Arab League, whereby the League board held a meeting on July 16, 1961 and passed a decree for accepting it as a member besides its sister Arab countries.
On Nov 30, 1961, the United Nation’s Security Council started discussions over Kuwait’s demand to join the United Nation’s. On May 14, 1963, Kuwait got the approval and became the 111th member. His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the then-Foreign Minister, delivered Kuwait’s speech at the UN in a historic moment of Kuwait’s march.
Later on, Kuwait joined various UN and international organizations such as, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Bank (WB), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The road to independence had started with Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem’s assumption to power in 1950 as he embarked on a series of measures to prepare the country for independence. In 1959, Kuwait took steps to enact laws and establish systems such as the Naturalization Law in 1959, the Kuwaiti Currency Law in 1960, the Passports Law and the Organization of Government Departments. He worked on issuing laws that are required to pave the way for the establishment of an independent state like judiciary organization law in 1959, monetary law in 1960 and etc.
Moreover, Fatwa and Legislation Department was established in the same year and government departments were organized. As an appreciation of the great role played by the late Amir Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem in Kuwait independence and laying down the foundation of modern state, a decree was issued in 1963 to merge the National Day with Accession the Throne Day corresponding to February 25, which is the date when he ascended the throne in Kuwait in 1950
By Ahmad Mousa