Kuwait’s new emir takes oath, calls for unity at tense time for region

Kuwait’s new emir takes oath, calls for unity at tense time for region

KUWAIT CITY, September 30 (FENA) – Kuwait’s new emir was sworn in at parliament on Wednesday as the country prepared to lay to rest late ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, a Gulf Arab elder statesman who helped steer his people through some of the Middle East’s most turbulent decades, Reuters reported.

The cabinet named designated successor Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah as ruler on Tuesday after the death of Sheikh Sabah, 91, whose body arrived in Kuwait on Wednesday from the United States, were he had been hospitalised since July.

Nawaf, 83, pledged to work for the OPEC member country’s prosperity, stability and security after taking the oath of office, raising both hands to his head as lawmakers applauded.

“Our dear nation today faces difficult situations and dangerous challenges that can only be overcome … by unifying ranks and working hard together,” he told the National Assembly.

Sheikh Sabah will be buried at the Sulaibikhat cemetery alongside his kin. The funeral has been restricted to ruling family members due to concerns about coronavirus, which along with low oil prices has strained the wealthy petroleum producer’s finances.

When the previous emir, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, died in 2006, thousands of Kuwaitis attended the funeral and many, along with expatriates, lined the streets.

Dignitaries from around the world paid respects to the seasoned diplomat and savvy politician, widely respected as a humanitarian who strove to heal rifts in the Middle East, mending ties with former occupier Iraq, maintaining dialogue with Iran and championing the Palestinian cause.