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Qatar mourns death of Kuwait Amir

Doha: The Kuwaiti Amiri Diwan announced yesterday the passing of H H the Amir of the State of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah. 

“With great sadness and sorrow, the Amiri Diwan mourns the passing of His Highness, the late Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah,” the Amiri Diwan said in a statement reported by Kuwait News Agency (Kuna). 

The statement expressed condolences and commiserations to the people of Kuwait, Arab, Islamic countries, and the world, praying for mercy on the soul of the deceased. 

Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani mourned with great sorrow and sadness, the death of H H the Amir of the State of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, who passed away yesterday.

H H the Amir stressed, in a statement by the Amiri Diwan, that Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah was a great leader characterised by wisdom, moderation, and long-term vision. His Highness added that the late Amir dedicated his life to serve his country and his ummah, called for dialogue, solidarity and unity among Arab countries to defend their just causes. 

H H the Amir prayed to the Almighty Allah to recompense the deceased fully for his good deeds, to have mercy on his soul and to rest it in peace in paradise along with martyrs and the faithful, and prayed that Allah helps the royal family, the Kuwaiti people, the Arab, and Islamic nations with patience and solace on His Highness’ loss. “Indeed, to God we belong and to God we shall return,” the statement said.

 

The statement said that the news of H H Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah’s passing was received with hearts filled with faith in Allah and his Providence, and with great sorrow and deep sadness. The statement added that the loss was of a great leader who was wise, moderate, and long-term oriented, and dedicated his life to serve his country and his ummah, called for dialogue and unity among Arab countries to defend their just causes, and for rejecting violence and extremism. The statement also said that Kuwait saw a comprehensive renaissance in all fields during the Amir’s rule.

Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani also announced three days of mourning in the state and ordered flags lowered to half-staff. 

Sheikh Sabah sought to adopt balanced and mediation policy in troubled region and maintained good relations with all Kuwait’s neighbours - forging close ties with Gulf countries, rebuilding links with Iraq and keeping open dialogue with Iran. He tried to mediate in a Gulf dispute and made fundraising for humanitarian aid in Syria one of Kuwait’s priorities.

President Donald Trump earlier this month awarded the US Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander, to Sheikh Sabah in what the White House said was the first time the honour has been given since 1991. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres praised the Amir as “an extraordinary symbol of wisdom and generosity, a messenger of peace, a bridge builder”.

Sheikh Sabah was born in June 1929 in Kuwait, then a British protectorate, the son of the Amir Sheikh Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah. He attended school in Kuwait and later worked several government posts, Al Jazeera reported. After Kuwait gained independence in 1961, he began to lead his country’s foreign policy for a four-decade as foreign minister that covered the latter half of Kuwait’s so-called “golden era”.

Kuwait began developing its oil wealth earlier than some of its neighbours and was known for fast-rising living standards, good universities, fun theatres, a relatively free press, and one of the region’s liveliest parliaments. 

Against the backdrop of the Iran-Iraq war, Sheikh Sabah was instrumental in the formation in 1981 of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – a bloc of six, booming hydrocarbon-rich Arab states that was designed to boost members’ clout.

Sheikh Sabah won the UN’s “exemplary humanitarian leadership” prize in 2014 for his aid work and for hosting big donor meets. Then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised his “outstanding generosity towards Syrians and Iraqis in need”.

He returned to the diplomatic breach in 2017 amid the near-breakup of the GCC, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and others cut ties with Doha and imposed a blockade on Qatar.

Sheikh Sabah repeatedly tried to broker an end to the crisis, shuttling across the region and visiting US President Donald Trump at the White House – but he passed away before reaping the fruits of his mediation tireless efforts, nevertheless not losing hope to achieve the unity of the Arab Gulf countries.

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