Kuwaiti emir leads efforts to ease ME crisis

Updated June 07, 2017

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Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah — File
Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah — File
DOHA: Stranded passengers pictured at the Hamad International Airport on Tuesday after cancellation of their flights.—AP
DOHA: Stranded passengers pictured at the Hamad International Airport on Tuesday after cancellation of their flights.—AP

DUBAI: Kuwait’s emir left Saudi Arabia after what state news agency KUNA described as a “brotherly visit” but there was no word on the outcome of the talks with King Salman bin Abdulaziz on a major diplomatic rift.

State news agency KUNA said Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah left Jeddah along with senior officials who accompanied him. It was not immediately clear if he was flying straight home or making any stops on his way back to Kuwait.

The Saudi state news agency had earlier reported that King Salman and Sheikh Sabah had discussed the “development of events in the region,” but gave no details.

Qatari minister rejects move by rivals to impose their will on his country

The emir was aiming to mediate in the dispute between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours led by Saudi Arabia, lawmakers in Kuwait City said earlier.

“We pray to God to help him succeed in achieving Gulf unity,” veteran MP Ali al-Deqbasi said during a parliamentary session.

The biggest diplomatic crisis in the Persian Gulf since the 1991 US-led war against Iraq pits several nations against Qatar, which is home to some 10,000 American troops and a major US military base.

Airlines suspended flights to Qatar and residents nervous about the peninsula’s lone land border closing cleaned out grocery store shelves.

The Kuwaiti ruler played a pivotal role in mediating a compromise in a 2014 diplomatic dispute between Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf states.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen on Monday cut diplomatic ties with fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member state Qatar.

Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, has delayed a speech planned for broadcast on Al-Jazeera at the request of the Kuwaiti ruler, the Qatari foreign minister said.

Sheikh Sabah has urged his Qatari counterpart “to exercise restraint” and “give efforts aimed at containing tensions between brothers a chance,” said the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA.

Kuwait, also a GCC member, did not join its neighbours in severing ties with Qatar.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani confirmed that Kuwait’s emir had asked his Qatari counterpart to hold off on giving a speech about the crisis late on Monday night.

Published in Dawn, June 7th, 2017