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KUWAIT CITY, Oct 31: His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has stressed the need for the coordinated efforts of everyone in the interest of the nation. HH the Crown Prince made the statement at the inaugural session of the second year of the 17th term of the National Assembly on Tuesday, during which he delivered a speech on behalf of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
He urged the citizens to keep on questioning their representatives at the Assembly and to be brave in correcting them; especially since some MPs have adopted certain demands, claiming these are public demands even if they have nothing to do with the people. He also pointed out that some MPs have adopted the so-called ‘public demands’, but the objectives are different from the citizens’ aspirations. He added Kuwait has been suffering a lot due to erroneous and undisciplined parliamentary practices.
He called on the MPs to improve their performance and refrain from submitting queries, which take a whole parliamentary term for the concerned ministers to respond. He asked them to avoid using grilling motion as a tool for putting pressure on some parties, stressing the need to refrain from dragging people into irrelevant issues. He warned against utilizing citizens to achieve personal goals. Addressing the executive authority, HH the Crown Prince stated that the achievements are still lower than expected; especially the issues which do not require special legislation. He pointed out this is the situation despite the unlimited support of the political leadership for the authority.
He added that he has repeatedly emphasized that challenges and dangers still surround Kuwait; hence, the need for everyone to adhere to the principle of national unity and avoid delving into issues, that could lead to tension and disputes as they are not in the interest of the nation. Addressing the legislative and executive authorities, HH the Crown Prince said the continuation of the previous political scenario would not serve the citizens’ interests. He added such disagreement scenarios hindered development and caused depression among citizens. He underscored the need to turn a new leaf, away from arguments and disputes. He asserted this parliamentary term should be the term of achievements for both authorities.
On the current situation in Gaza, he confirmed that the political leadership, government, National Assembly, and people of Kuwait are anxiously following up the brutal Israeli attacks on Palestine, particularly Gaza. He said the country remains firm in its stand to support the Palestinian cause. He added Kuwait continuously plays its role, in collaboration with friendly and sisterly countries, to enforce a ceasefire in Gaza and achieve international peace. He went on to say that Kuwait remains committed to international agreements and treaties while denouncing the ruling of the Iraqi Court to nullify the agreement that Kuwait and Iraq signed in 2012 concerning navigation in the Khor Abdullah waterway. He said the ruling is a violation of international laws and customs.
On the other hand, HH Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah emphasized the urgency and necessity of cooperation between the executive and legislative authorities, as well as commitment to Article 50 of the Constitution. This article states: “In conformity with the provisions of the Constitution, the system of government shall be established on the basis of separation and cooperation of powers. No Authority shall be allowed to waive all or part of its jurisdiction as prescribed in this Constitution.” He affirmed such cooperation in the first round of the 17th parliamentary term led to the ratification of four important laws, which are being implemented now. He said he is aware that the citizens are looking forward to more achievements, indicating the government held several meetings with the coordinating committee to specify priorities for this parliamentary round. He confirmed that the government is keen on developing the financial capabilities of Kuwait through the diversification of income sources, the switch from a rentier economy to a sustainable and productive economy, and the development of infrastructure to support Kuwait’s 2035 Vision. He added that HH the Crown Prince visited China in response to the invitation to Chinese President Xi Jinping; during which he signed a number of agreements on the drainage network, Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port, free trade zone, housing development, and other important projects, as part of the five-year cooperation agreement between the two friendly countries from 2024 to 2028. He went on to say the government has many concerns, some of which were included in the agenda for this year like the completion of certain development projects as per schedule. He revealed these projects are aimed at diversifying income sources and enhancing non-oil revenues. He added the government is keen on fully benefiting from industrial and craft plots through strict governance over these plots.
He also cited the currency strategies adopted by the Central Bank of Kuwait, as they reduced inflation from 4.7 percent in April 2022 to 3.8 percent in August 2023. He said the Central Bank has been taking the necessary steps for the licensing of digital banks. He disclosed that the Central Agency for Information Technology (CAIT) is implementing an integrated project for digital banks, adding the National Cybersecurity Center is preparing a strategy to foil attempts to hack official data. On the oil sector, he stated that Zour Oil Refinery is expected to produce 615 barrels per day and this is enough for generating electricity. He said Al-Daghm Refinery in Oman is expected to produce 230 barrels per day. He added Kuwait National Petroleum Corporation (KNPC) laid down a strategy to switch to clean energy by 2050, complementing the long-term strategy of the Environment Public Authority (EPA) to enhance low-carbon development by 2060.
Regarding human resources development, HH the Prime Minister said the Ministry of Higher Education offered 3,454 overseas scholarships in the academic year 2023/2024 and 6,540 local scholarships in the academic year 2022/2023. On employment, he revealed that the number of citizens appointed from Jan 1 to Oct 31, 2023, has reached 15,690. He affirmed the government is keen on addressing the demographic imbalance issue by granting privileges to nationals working in the private sector, granting social allowance to the owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and nationalizing supervisory jobs in cooperative societies.
On retirees, he confirmed the allocation of three plots for the Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) to invest in for the benefit of retirees. He stressed that successive governments are fully aware of the dramatic changes in the 21st century in relation to the establishment of new regional and international commercial paths, including land and marine networks. He said the government prioritizes regional cooperation on railways, starting with the GCC railway and the agreement signed with Saudi Arabia to link the railways.
On the situation in Gaza, he stressed that Kuwait is anxiously monitoring the tragic and brutal Israeli attacks on Gaza, as well as the forced displacement and group punishment attempts that included women and children. He lamented such crimes are being committed while the international community is silent and the United Nations Security Council is helpless. He said this scene causes depression among the people of the region. He called on the Security Council to bear responsibility in ending the violence in Palestine and enforcing the United Nations General Assembly resolution; which obtained the votes of the majority of members on Oct 27, 2023, to stop the Israeli crimes immediately and provide protection for the Palestinian people.
He added the Council of Ministers, as per the directive of HH the Amir and HH Crown Prince, launched an air bridge to deliver aid to the people of Gaza. He affirmed that Kuwait supports all the rights of the Palestinians, including their right to establish an independent State. Speaker of the National Assembly Ahmad Al-Saadoun affirmed on Tuesday that the Palestinians were facing a war of genocide carried out by the Israeli occupation forces. Speaking at the opening of the Second Regular Session of the 17th Legislative Term of the National Assembly, Al-Saadoun condemned the horrific acts carried out by the Zionist regime against the innocent people of the Gaza Strip, saying that the Israeli occupiers were committing war crimes against the Palestinian people.
The forced displacement, the attacks on hospitals and places of worship, and the ethnically cleansing of the Palestinians were all barbaric acts carried out by Israel, he added. Meanwhile, Al-Saadoun touched on the current session of the National Assembly, saying that the citizens of Kuwait were eager to seek achievements and developments for the country. The parliament will work with the government to achieve said development and progress for Kuwait, he affirmed. Al-Saadoun also affirmed on Tuesday that parliament must seek all venues to achieve development in the country and meet challenges in line with Kuwait’s interests.
Speaking at the opening of the Second Regular Session of the 17th Legislative Term of the National Assembly, Al-Saadoun said that inter-parliamentary coordination must be a priority for the sake of Kuwait. He said that despite different views and opinions, national unity based on solemn efforts amongst the people would achieve security and stability for the nation. Safeguarding Kuwait was above all matters, he affirmed, noting that the recent Iraqi Federal Supreme Court ruling over the Khor Abdullah waterway was unlawful. Al-Saadoun called on Iraq to deal with the matter swiftly and respect signed treaties and resolutions, namely UNSC 833 concerning the work of the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission.
Kuwait government will not be taking part in the secretary, observer, and parliamentary committees’ election, affirmed Deputy Prime Minister, State Minister for Cabinet Affairs, and State Minister for National Assembly Affairs Essa Al-Kandari on Tuesday.
Al-Kandari, at the inauguration of the second session of the 17th legislative term, asserted the government’s commitment to not intervening in parliamentary elections and its intent on furthering cooperation and coordination with the assembly. Parliament Member Osama Al-Shaheen was voted by acclamation to become National Assembly Secretary, while MP Dr. Falah Al-Hajri was voted to be parliament observer.
By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh
Al-Seyassah/Arab Times Staff and Agencies
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