Amir sponsors Flag hoisting ceremony today
KUWAIT: In this file photo, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah delivers his first speech after being sworn in as the 15th Amir and ruler of Kuwait. — KUNA
KUWAIT: Kuwait celebrates today the 12-year anniversary of the ascendency of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as he continues his responsible leadership of this nation and its people. It all started when His Highness Sheikh Sabah stood in parliament to be sworn in as the 15th Amir and ruler of Kuwait amid huge local support from the public and local officials.
In a public address after a ceremony marking the event, His Highness vowed to bear this responsibility and to work hard for the benefit of the country. He urged the people to unite in their efforts in making Kuwait a modern and forward-thinking nation bound by science, innovation, cooperation, equality in rights and duties, democracy and freedom of thought and expression. He urged the people to place the best interests of the nation above their own, to disregard the lure of personal gain so that all may benefit and to abide by the rule of law and order. “Kuwait is the crown upon all of our heads,” he had said.
Wisdom and intelligence
The fourth child of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, his wisdom and intelligence stems from a decades-long commitment to serving in the social, political and diplomatic spheres following extensive travel and tutelage at Al-Mubarakiya School, Kuwait’s first formal educational establishment named after the late ruler, Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah.
Sheikh Sabah’s initial foray into public office came in 1954, when he was appointed member in the supreme executive committee tasked with the role of the regulation of government interests and bodies. A year later, he was handed the role of director of the department of social and labor affairs, where he was instrumental in several factors, namely regulating the relationship between employer and employee. He is also behind the formation of sports clubs, a traditional culture body, public theatres and centers for technical and professional training, childcare, motherhood and people with special needs.
Upon the expansion of his role to include director of the publications department in 1957, Sheikh Sabah demonstrated a commitment to reviving old books and manuscripts and tasked a committee with writing the first book detailing the history of Kuwait. Kuwaiti journalism, regarded one of the most transparent in the Middle East, continues to benefit from His Highness, who is behind the publications law, which remains in use until this day, albeit some minor amendments.
As Kuwait declared its independence in 1961, he was appointed member of the Kuwaiti constitution’s founding council. This was followed by his addition to the first official cabinet, where he assumed the role of minister of guidance in 1962.
Only one year later, he began a journey as minister of foreign affairs, where he remained the top man responsible for delivering Kuwait’s diplomacy to the world for 40 years. On May 11, 1963, during the first year of Sheikh Sabah’s time in office as minister, Kuwait became a member of the United Nations.
Diplomatically, he was involved in Kuwait-hosted talks in 1966 between warring parties in Yemen, Egypt and Saudi Arabia aimed at putting an end to the Yemeni civil war. When the relationship deteriorated between South and North Yemen, with both involved in border clashes, Sheikh Sabah visited the two countries (at the time) helping forge a peace agreement in 1972. He also successfully mediated an agreement of diplomatic principles between Oman and South Yemen, which was followed by a joint announcement of the resumption of diplomatic relations from Kuwait in 1984.
Throughout his tenure, the then minister assumed a balanced foreign policy that enabled Kuwait to overcome some difficult periods such as the Iraq-Iran War of 1980 and its repercussions on the internal and external security and stability of his country. He also forged a strong relationship with countries around the world, particularly the five permanent member nations of the United Nations Security Council. These strong ties culminated in the emergence of a 35-nation coalition that helped liberate Kuwait from invasion by Iraq in 1991 as a result of a Security Council resolution that paved the way for a military offensive against the occupying forces. Alongside his role as foreign minister, Sheikh Sabah was handed numerous roles due to his wise policies and diplomatic proficiency, namely acting information minister (1971-1975), deputy prime minister (1978), acting information minister (1982), deputy prime minister (1985-1992) and first deputy prime minister and foreign minister (1992). In 2001, he was tasked with forming the Kuwaiti cabinet in the place of the then Crown Prince and Prime Minister the late Amir Sheikh Saad Al-Abdallah Al-Sabah, who was suffering from a medical condition.
Two years later, Sheikh Sabah became prime minister upon Amiri decree. It is during his time as prime minister that his ability to guide domestic policy came to light. The prime minister adopted a comprehensive development-based vision focused particularly on economic growth through support of the private sector and entrepreneurism amongst the youth.
On the economic spectrum, a tour in Asia, including China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, at the head of a business delegation in 2004 resulted in the joint signature of 10 mega deals and projects. He remained premier until 2006 when a cabinet session passed a motion appointing him Amir of Kuwait.
Over the 12 years under his reign, Kuwait has witnessed widespread development concentrated on a number of mega projects like Sabah Al-Ahmad Marine City – the first fully developed by the private sector.
Others in the services sector, include Jaber Hospital, Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port, Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium, Al-Zour Refinery, a soon-to-be-completed airport, several new bridges and roads, including Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah causeway project which links Kuwait City to cities in the north and cities like South Al-Mutlaa. In accordance with his vision to transform Kuwait into a financial and commercial hub, the government also announced the ‘New Kuwait 2035’ development and diversification project based on mega projects.
His Highness the Amir made comments urging nationals to stand together in the face of challenges and threats, namely the June 2015 terrorist attack on Al-Sadiq Mosque, which killed 27 people and injured over 200 others. Shortly after the suicide attack, His Highness took it upon himself to visit the location in the person unannounced, where he uttered those renowned words, “those are my children.”
While leading the hundreds of Kuwaitis who came at attend the mass funerals for the victims, he urged “the Kuwaiti family to stand together united through troubles and strife in tackling violence and fundamentalist thought that aims to undermine the other.”
On the scale of his foreign policy, Kuwait over recent years has managed to adopt a pioneering role in the global humanitarian field thanks to his wise policies. Kuwait hosted three pledging conferences for international governments and organizations, co-chaired a similar event in London and attended another European Union-organized event in Brussels.
The Kuwait-hosted donors conferences raised a total $7.5 billion from attending nations, while Kuwait handed out a total 1.6 billion across all five gatherings as support for the victims of the Syrian conflict. The endeavors overseen by His Highness earned him the unprecedented title of ‘Humanitarian Leader’ and Kuwait, the title of ‘Humanitarian Centre’, both granted by the United Nations.
Kuwait also plans to host a pledging conference dedicated to efforts aimed at rebuilding cities and towns in Iraq reclaimed from Islamic State group control in February 2018. His mediation efforts on a crisis that erupted in 2017 between three member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain plus Egypt, on the one hand, and Qatar, on the other, have also been relentless.
These efforts have been commended worldwide and have transformed from a unilateral effort to a global initiative, receiving the full backing of the United States and the European Union. Part of these efforts included tangible steps to hold the crucial regional bloc together, namely hosting a summit of GCC senior officials at its scheduled date in December and a football tournament of Gulf nations shortly after in January 2018.
Flag hoisting ceremony
His Highness the Amir is set to patronize the flag hoisting ceremony at Bayan Palace today. The ceremony will be attended by His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and senior state officials. – KUNA