Video: Funeral prayers held for Kuwait's late Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah

Sheikh Nawaf, whose casket was draped in Kuwait's flag, was buried in Sulaibikhat cemetery alongside his kin

By Reuters

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Photo: kuna_en/X
Photo: kuna_en/X

Published: Sun 17 Dec 2023, 12:57 PM

Last updated: Sun 17 Dec 2023, 1:05 PM

Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, whose six-decade career in public service primarily focused on domestic issues, was buried on Sunday following a prayer service.

His successor, Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah, 83, was seen shedding a tear at the prayer service attended by members of the ruling Al Sabah family and speaker of Kuwait's parliament.

Sheikh Meshal had been Kuwait's de facto ruler since late 2021, when Sheikh Nawaf handed over most of his duties.

As he formally takes the helm of the OPEC member from his half-brother, Sheikh Meshal is expected to preserve key Kuwaiti foreign policies including support for Gulf Arab unity, Western alliances and good ties to Riyadh — a priority relationship.

Sheikh Nawaf's three-year reign as Emir, was marred by ill health. His predecessor and brother, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, reigned for 14 years and shaped the Gulf state's foreign policy for two generations.

Sheikh Nawaf, whose casket was draped in Kuwait's flag, was buried in the Sulaibikhat cemetery alongside his kin, after prayers at Bilal bin Rabah mosque.

Dignitaries from around the world paid respects to Sheikh Nawaf, whose six decades in public service included minister of defence, interior, labour and deputy chief of the national guard.

"We convey our deepest condolences to the royal family, the leadership and the people of Kuwait," India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on the social media platform X.

Sheikh Nawaf died on Saturday, aged 86. He was 83 when he became Emir in 2020.

The late Emir was perceived domestically as a consensus-builder who sought to repair a long strained relationship between the parliament and government and who pardoned dozens of dissidents and other citizens who had voiced public criticisms.

Under the constitution, the Emir chooses his successor, the crown prince, but traditionally the ruling family convenes a meeting to build consensus. Parliament also has to approve.

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