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Kuwait Mourns Architect behind its ‘Safety Net’

Kuwait Mourns Architect behind its ‘Safety Net’

Wednesday, 30 September, 2020 - 04:15
Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah attends the opening of the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis, Tunisia, on March 31, 2019. (Fethi Belaid/The Associated Press)

Kuwait has officially bid farewell to its late ruling monarch, Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, who had died aged 91 in the US after spending over seven decades serving his country.

Providing experience at different government posts in Kuwait, and acting as the Gulf state’s foreign minister for four decades, the Emir has helped shape his country’s regional and international ties.

He is also recognized for creating a “safety net” for Kuwait in the 1990s, when the country faced challenging times during the Iraqi invasion. He saw astute diplomacy as crucial to national recovery from Iraq's seven-month occupation.

The Kuwaiti Emiri Diwan announced the Emir’s passing and the cabinet named Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah as the successor.

The State of Kuwait announced the official mourning period of 40 days.

Arab countries across the region also mourned Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad’s death, with cables of heartfelt condolences pouring in from countries around the world.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, offered on Tuesday their condolences for the passing of a leader who “leaves behind a career rife with accomplishments and giving in services of his people, Arab and Islamic nations and the whole of humanity.”

In the 70 years of his political life, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad served 14 years as Emir and 40 years as foreign minister.

Despite living through some of the toughest and most critical crises in the Arab world, he always championed diplomacy until he was dubbed its dean. Settling thorny issues via tactful mediation and peaceful solutions was one of his fortes.

During his time as foreign minister, the Emir had to come head-to-head with an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

He helped lead his country out of the ruin of the invasion to renewed riches and a Gulf mediator role, first as its top diplomat and later as ruler.

The Emir was also keen on developing and nurturing strong ties with the West.

He played a major role in ending the Lebanese civil war and Palestinian conflict in Jordan.

The late Emir also worked on navigating tensions between Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Iran and sought solving the Gulf crisis with Qatar, which broke out in 2017.

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