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Kuwait Emir Sheikh Sabah leaves behind an outstanding legacy

Wam/Kuwait
Filed on September 30, 2020 | Last updated on September 30, 2020 at 07.10 am
Kuwait, emir, sheikh sabah, obituary, outstanding, legacy
Britain's Queen Elizabeth (L) poses for a photograph with the Emir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah (C) and her husband Prince Philip before a State Banquet at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, southern England November 27, 2012.

(Reuters)

As his obituary testifies, Sheikh Sabah's achievements will remain indelibly imprinted on the minds of Kuwaitis and Arabs.

After 14 years of leading his nation through triumphs and regional and global turmoil, the late Emir of Kuwait,His Highness Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad AlJaber AlSabah passedawayon Tuesday,leaving an outstanding legacy that will remain in the minds of the people of Kuwait, the Arab and Islamic nations, and the world.

The Kuwait News Agency, Kuna, said in an obituary that since ascending to power on January 29, 2006, the late Sheikh Sabahfocused his journey on the development and progress of Kuwait and its people,as well as bringing peace and stability regionally and globally.

Sheikh Sabahbecame the 15th leader of Kuwait and the first to swear oath since 1965 at the National Assembly with the support of the legislative and executive powers.

His Highness the Emir advocated for humanitarian diplomacy and peace during his tenure and this policy was deeply rooted in his upbringing and government career prior to leadership of Kuwait.

Sheikh Sabah -- the fourth son of the late Emir Sheikh Ahmad AlJaber AlSabah -- was educated in AlMubarakiya school.

Hebegan his governmental career in 1954 when he became member of the supreme executive committee tasked with organising government interestsand its official departments.

In 1955, His Highness the Emir became head of the department of Social and Labour Affairs which was tasked with organising the relationsbetween employers and employees,especially with the increasing immigration of Arab and foreign labour to Kuwait. The department was also tasked with elevating society as a whole,providing social support to women, children, the youth, and the elderly.

Sheikh Sabah was also very keen on the arts and the progress of theatrein Kuwait, establishing the first centrefor Kuwaiti folklore arts in 1956.

In 1957, Sheikh Sabah was appointed as head of the department of print and publication.

He worked extensively to publish Kuwait AlYawam-- the state's official gazette -- as well as AlArabi magazine.

Sheikh Sabah workedon legislations to put Kuwaiti press on the map of Arab journalism through integrity and accuracy in conveying news.

He was also keen on reviving Arab tradition and manuscript via various publications,in addition to forming a special committee for a project documenting the history of Kuwait.

Post-independence in 1961, His Highness the Emir was a member in the committee laying the foundations of Kuwait's constitution. He was part of the first cabinet formation in 1962, becoming minister of guidance and news.

On January 28, 1963, after the first legislative elections, Sheikh Sabah was appointed asForeign Minister of the country andessentially established theblueprintonwhich Kuwait based its foreign policy. He spent 40 years in the position.

Kuwaitis still remember that fateful day on May 11, 1963 when Sheikh Sabah hoisted Kuwait's flag at the UN building in New York, which signalled Kuwait's membership ofthe international establishment.

During his tenure as Foreign Minister, Sheikh Sabah played a pivotal role in trying to finding solution to crises in the Arab world.

He led Kuwait's delegation some 54 years ago in the meetings held in his country to find a solution to the Yemeni civil war.

The meeting held in Kuwait inAugust1966 gathered officials from Yemeni opposing parties, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

When tension continued between the south and north Yemeni parties, His Highness the Emir visited both groups in Yemen in October of 1972, bringing abouta peace treaty between the two sides.

In 1980, Sheikh Sabah brokered an agreement betweentheSultanate of Oman and the democratic republic of Yemen, which led to a meeting in Kuwait in 1984 and a ceasefire in amedia war as well as the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Due to Kuwait's strong foreign policy and efforts to spread peace, the country managed to gatherworldwide support during its darkest time on August 2, 1990 -- the period of the Iraqi invasion.

In reaction to the horrific event, the UNSC issued resolution 687, which enabled the use of all methods, including military might,to force Iraqis out of Kuwait.

In addition to helming Kuwait's Foreign Minister's post, Sheikh Sabah was also assigned as Acting Information Minister in 1971-75, Deputy Prime Ministerin1978-81 and also returned as acting Information Ministry in 1982.

On March 3, 1985, Sheikh Sabahwas appointed as then Deputy Prime Minister and MinisterofForeign Affairs, a post he held until October 18, 1992. He was then appointed as First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

On July 13, 2003, an Amiri decree was issued assigning Sheikh Sabah as Prime Minister, the first instance when the Premiership was separated from the post of Crown Prince.

As Prime Minister, His Highness made it his mission to bring upon development and prosperity to his country, encouraging for instance the private sector to provide job opportunities to young peopleby supporting small enterprises.

His Highness also was keen on a vision to transform Kuwait into a regional and international commercial centre, bringing the country back to its reputation as 'the pearl of the Gulf'.

According to article 3/1964 of the constitution, Sheikh Sabahwas named as Ruler of Kuwait and he took oath in parliament on January 29, 2006.

During his reign,Sheikh Sabah ushered in an era of development and progress, launching various development projects including the Sabah AlAhmad Sea City, a venture fully carried out by the private sector.

Other projectshe presided overinclude the Jaber AlAhmad Hospital, Mubarak Seaport, the Jaber Causeway, the Jaber AlAhmad Stadium, and others.

Sheikh Sabahreceived various honours and accolades,including the recent US Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander medal which was granted by US President Donald Trump.

Sheikh Sabah was also honoured by the UN in 2014 as a global humanitarian leader and Kuwaitwas recognisedas an international centrefor humanitarian efforts.

Also during his tenure, Sheikh Sabah organised the first Arab social and economic summit on January 2009. At the event, Kuwait donated $500 million to the summit's fund for small and medium size enterprises.

Sheikh Sabah'slegacy will continue to be remembered by the people of Kuwait, the Arab and Islamic nations, in addition to the world for his efforts to achievepeace, progress and overall welfare for humanity.


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