Farewell to the Emir of Kuwait, an Arab patriot and peacemaker

Published: 02 October 2020
Farewell to the Emir of Kuwait, an Arab patriot and peacemaker
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A distinguished leader, who won the respect of the international community and the love of his people, has been summoned to heaven at the great age of 91. It was a sad day for me personally when I heard that the #Emir_of_Kuwait #Sheikh_Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah had finally lost the long battle against the illness for which he was receiving treatment in the United States of #America.

His wisdom, generosity and natural peacemaking abilities will be greatly missed. I would ask his family members and all our Kuwaiti brothers and sisters to accept my heartfelt condolences on their loss. I was privileged to meet him at my hotel in #Beirut some years ago and was impressed by his warm yet dignified personality.

#Sheikh_Sabah was one of the Gulf’s old-school heads of state who felt a strong kinship with his Gulf Cooperation Council (#GCC) counterparts and worked towards making the #GCC a cohesive, unified and influential entity. He was a unifier who always tried to being disputing parties together without taking sides.

Throughout the last half a century when he served as #Kuwait’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister until he was sworn-in as Emir and Commander of the Armed Forces in 2006, he was always a calming influence during the worst of storms.

On his watch #Kuwait adopted a role as mediator between Lebanese factions and Yemeni warring parties, he was instrumental in resolving disputes between #Bangladesh and #Pakistan, and he tried hard to bring #Qatar back into the Gulf fold. His tireless efforts to bring nations together did not escape US President Donald #Trump who honored him with the prestigious Legion of Merit for “his tireless mediation of disputes”

The late Emir was also a renowned humanitarian who was highly praised by former US President Jimmy #Carter and a succession of #United_Nations Secretaries General. Syrian refugees have been some of the biggest beneficiaries of his generosity and subsequent to the 2013 public uprisings in #Egypt that unseated the #Muslim_Brotherhood government at a time when #Cairo was on its economic knees heading for bankruptcy, #Kuwait joined #Saudi_Arabia, the United Arab #Emirates and #Bahrain that together came forward with an aid package totaling more than $12bn.

#Emirates, especially those of my generation, feel particularly close to the people of #Kuwait with whom we shared bread during the 1991 #Gulf_War and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Kuwaitis and other coalition partners on the battlefield to defeat #Saddam_Hussein’s invading army. I was delighted to host Kuwaiti guests in my hotels until they were able to return home.

In truth, as a child, I hated being confined in school when I could be racing camels, running with my falcon and dog hunting bustard or wreck diving but I very much appreciated the accomplished teachers that were sent by #Kuwait to ensure we had a solid educational grounding. They were inspirational and for that we owe #Kuwait a large debt.

Kuwaitis have always put a high value on education. I have many friends from #Kuwait who are all well educated, knowledgeable and well spoken. Indeed, they are masters of intelligent, thought-provoking discussions. My wish for them and for all Kuwaitis is that the legacy of #Sheikh_Sabah will live on for years to come in the hearts and minds of his successors. He has constructed the foundations of a modern, tolerant society, now is the time to build upon the blocks of fairness and justice he laid down.

As I say goodbye to an exceptional human who guided his nation safely through various storms I would also congratulate Crown Prince #Sheikh_Nawaf_Al_Ahmad_Al_Jaber_Al_Sabah on his accession  and wish him well in his role as Emir. May Allah guide his hands and heart on to a path of peace, justice and prosperity!


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