News Agencies:Lt24:KUWAIT:: HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah met yesterday with world leaders and senior US, Iranian and Saudi officials, who separately paid respects over the passing of late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf received late yesterday Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, who arrived in Kuwait to offer condolences on the passing of late Amir Sheikh Sabah.
Earlier yesterday, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al-Maktoum met HH the Amir to express his condolences. HH Sheikh Nawaf also received Qatar’s Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani yesterday, who offered condolences over the passing of late Amir Sheikh Sabah.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called Deputy Chief of Kuwait’s National Guard Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Saturday to offer his condolences. Several Saudi regional governors travelled to Kuwait yesterday to do the same.
The late Amir balanced Kuwait’s ties between larger neighbors Saudi Arabia and Iran and kept a strong relationship with the United States, which led a coalition that ended Iraq’s 1990-91 occupation of Kuwait.
“He will be remembered as a great man and a special friend to the United States,” US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in comments tweeted by the US Embassy during his visit to extend condolences of the US administration. HH Sheikh Nawaf said he was glad that US President Donald Trump, who has been hospitalized after being diagnosed with coronavirus, was “recovering and well”. Esper thanked him for his “expression of concern”.
In a divided region, Sheikh Sabah cultivated a role as a go-between and mediator, a status illustrated by yesterday’s visitors. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif met HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf and his Kuwaiti counterpart to pay his respects. Zarif “congratulated them on the election of the new Amir of Kuwait and stressed the support of the Islamic Republic of Iran”, the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement. Zarif also lauded the late Amir for fostering “moderation and balance”. Iranian state media later carried a message by President Hassan Rouhani to HH the Amir: “I am confident that, as in the past, we will see a growing expansion of friendly and fraternal ties between the two countries.”
Meanwhile, Prince Charles has visited Kuwait seven times before, including a trip with the Princess of Wales in 1989, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Independence as the guest of the Amir in 2011, and most recently during his tour of the Middle East in 2015.
He also paid respects in the nation on January 17 2006, when the previous Amir died.
Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, 91, was taken to a US hospital in July, and Bayan Palace announced his death on Tuesday.
His coffin will be flown back to Kuwait from Rochester, Minnesota, home of the Mayo Clinic, where he had been receiving medical treatment after falling ill in July.
His funeral would typically draw tens of thousands of mourning Kuwaitis and scores of foreign leaders and dignitaries, but, because of the coronavirus pandemic, his burial will be a private family service instead.
As ruling emir, he faced falling oil prices, internal political disputes and the fallout from the 2011 Arab Spring, but he will be known for resolving regional disputes including the ongoing deadlock between Qatar and other Arab nations.
His younger half-brother, Crown Prince Nawaf, was sworn in as the new leader on Wednesday, after deputising for Amir since his hospitalisation.
At 83, Sheikh Nawaf is not expected to deviate from the diplomatic path charted by his half-brother, but his accession has sparked speculation about who will become the next crown prince in Kuwait, which is known for its lively elected parliament and relative independence in a region of Gulf Arab monarchies.
Sheikh Sabah was foreign minister for 38 years, establishing Kuwait as a force for peace and stability in the region.
He was also a strong advocate for the close friendship between the UK and Kuwait and between the Royal Family and the Kuwaiti ruling family.
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