KUWAIT CITY, March 14: The National Assembly during its regular session Tuesday approved a number of draft laws concerning the agreements between the State of Kuwait and other countries. One of the agreements that was approved during the first and second readings is between the State of Kuwait and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) concerning the transit of troops and members of the alliance. In his response to comments from some MPs on the aforementioned agreement, the First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al- Sabah said the State of Kuwait is one of the first countries that have joined the Istanbul initiative which sought to see the security and stability of the region in 2004.
In response to the comments Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid stressed on the importance of cooperation with the 28 other countries represented in the alliance for the sake of Kuwait’s security and stability. He noted Kuwait has cooperated with NATO in several areas such as counter-terrorism, natural calamities and in areas of maritime border, coast guard, security and military training.
He explained, “This cooperation has helped Kuwait to create the first NATO center in the region and allocate land to hold sessions during which issues of security and stability of the region were discussed at the beginning of this year.”
He added the cooperation by the State of Kuwait with NATO came in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions which stipulate helping NATO forces and facilitate their tasks to help Iraq and Afghanistan. That is the reason why Kuwait has entered into an agreement with NATO on the issue of ‘transit’ of troops.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid confirmed Kuwait’s keenness “to provide all necessary help towards the alliance” without violating the Constitution and the law of the State, “which is a joint duty”. He pointed to the importance of benefiting from the alliance in training and workshops in areas that are needed.
According to the report issued by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly, the agreement works on a legal basis and provisions which permits the transit of forces and members of the alliance (NATO) through the State of Kuwait in case if such a request is made. Other approved agreements include cooperation deals between Kuwait and other countries including France, Azerbaijan, Tunisia, Switzerland, Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan.
Furthermore the Parliament during its regular session Tuesday approved the link budget for Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and its subsidiaries for the financial year (2016/2017) in accordance with the state budget based of $35 per barrel. Thirty-eight members voted ‘for’ and three ‘against’. During the session, the Oil Minister and Minister of Electricity and Water Essam Al- Marzouk in response to comments by MPs on the draft law that the amendment bill on KPC’s budget for the financial year (2016/2017) said it was based on the price of $35 per barrel.
The minister added the price on which the KPC’s budget was previously based in June was $25 according to the oil price at that time before the agreement between the OPEC countries and countries outside this organization after which the oil price rose by about 70 percent. He explained the KPC budget is based currently on price of $35 dollars a barrel as the price neared $50. He stressed the government will not take into account the current price while submitting the budget fearing fall in price again. He stated the prices dropped below $50 because of news about the increased production of shale oil and pointed to the possibility of the oil prices dropping to $45 “so, we can’t keep the price as it is”. He stressed the KPC set the $35 benchmark and built on it the State budget calling it “good price and consistent with the future expectations for oil prices.”
According to a report of the Parliamentary Committee on Budgets and Final accounts, the bill aims to amend the price estimates of revenues and expenses and the net profits of KPC and its subsidiaries for the financial year (2016/2017) after adjusting the oil price projection in the general state budget for the fiscal year (2016/2017) to be consistent with it. The committee’s report added this requires repealing law No.51/ 2016 on link budget for Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and its subsidiaries for the financial year (2016/2017) from the date of its application. The Parliament also approved in its second reading a bill on amending some provisions of establishing the Industrial Bank of Kuwait ‘financial portfolio law to support and finance handicraft & small enterprises for Kuwaitis. The bill increases the bank’s capital to KD 150 million.
This has been referred to the government. Meanwhile, the Parliament has approved the request of the Public Prosecution to lift the parliamentary immunity of MP Khalaf Dumaither Al-Anazi. Justice Minister and Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs Dr Faleh Al-Azeb explained this request comes following a complaint filed by the Anti-Corruption Public Authority due to late submission of his financial disclosure because of his health conditions. He confirmed the government has approved the request to lift the immunity.
On another issue, the Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah disclosed three officers have been suspended until investigations into the death of an inmate at the Central Prison who is said to have committed suicide. During the regular Parliament session discussion about forming an investigation committee on this issue, Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah said the suspension was necessitated in order not to influence the course of the investigation. He added, the government would not mind assigning the parliamentary Human Rights Investigation Committee in this regard. He explained the Interior Ministry has announced the Public Prosecutor and the Forensic experts will complete their task and all the facts will be revealed on the death at the Central Prison. The Interior Ministry announced Monday the inmate who allegedly committed suicide in the Central Prison was serving time in a drug abuse case.
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff