Kuwait marks 55th anniversary of Arab League’s membership
KUWAIT: The State of Kuwait will celebrate today the 55th anniversary of the Arab League’s membership. Kuwait tried to join the Arab League in 1958, but the move failed as the state was not independent at that time.
After declaring Kuwait’s independence from Britain on June 19, 1961, Iraq’s Prime Minister at that time Abdulkareem Qassem called for annexing Kuwait to Iraq. Kuwait submitted a request to the Arab League on June 23, 1961 for getting a membership, the league approved the request on July 20.
As a result, Kuwait called on Britain to withdraw its troops and replaced them with Arab ones and actually some troops from the United Arab Republic, Jordan, and Sudan arrived in Kuwait to protect it from any foreign interference. On February 8, 1963, Qassem was assassinated and the Arab troops withdrew completely from Kuwait on February 20.
Accepting the request of Kuwait to join the league, Secretary General for Political Affairs at that time Dr Sayed Nofal said the league was very pleased of Kuwait’s joining the Arab family. He added that Kuwait actually has enjoyed, unofficially, the membership of the league for a long time, either on political or social or cultural arenas. The league also issued a resolution aimed to helping the State of Kuwait join the United Nations membership.
Since joining the league, Kuwait has been exerting all possible efforts aiming to support Arab unity and cohesion either inside or outside the league through its representative His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah, who was serving as foreign minister at that time. His Highness the Amir played a key diplomatic role in healing the Arab rift, adopting a balanced policy, cementing bonds of cooperation, and settling Gulf and Arab disputes.
Kuwait has a pioneering role in mediating amongst Yemeni parties in the 1960s and stopping the armed forces in September, 1972 between the Yemen Arab Republic and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen. The mediation made by His Highness the Amir when he was serving as foreign minister at that time through the committee formed by the league ended with reaching a Yemen’s peace agreement in and a deal on trade exchange in October, 1972.
His Highness the Amir played also a key role in settling Lebanon’s crisis since the eruption of the civil war in 1975 until 1989. In 1980, His Highness the Amir made mediation efforts between Democratic Republic of Yemen and the Sultanate of Oman to ease tensions between them.
Regarding Kuwait’s role in supporting the Arab issues, the State of Kuwait has been keen on backing the Palestinian cause, the core issue of Arabs, in international arenas through demanding a halt of the Israeli aggression and recognizing legitimate rights of Palestinians. This was submitted on May 18, 1963 in a statement read out by His Highness the Amir before the UN General Assembly.
History will always remember of the stance of late Father Amir Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah in 1970 when he contributed to lifting the blockade imposed on late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in Jordan during the battles dubbed as ‘Black September.’ Kuwait also has been supporting the Palestine people and government through providing financial and in-kind aid brotherly Palestinians who have been under the Israeli occupation.
As for Arab League’s stance over the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, the league issued on August 10, 1990, resolution No. 195, which condemned the Iraqi invasion and asked, during an extraordinary summit, Iraq to abide by UN Security Council resolutions. The league confirmed at the summit Kuwait’s sovereignty and independence, and denounced Iraqi threats against Kuwait, before issuing consecutive resolutions pertaining to the Kuwait’s prisoners and their compensation for damage caused by the invasion. Moreover, Kuwait’s contribution to reconstructing Iraq is another example of its keenness to extend bridges of cooperation to strengthen the Arab unity. Kuwait’s aid-either grants, or development projects economic, or loans has been extended through its economic and development funds to its Arab countries.
Kuwait hosted a first Arab economic, developmental and social summit in 2009, which was one the most successful summits held by the league, and the Africa-Arab summit, the two international pledging humanitarian conferences for Syrian and other Arab activities as well.
After the terrorist attack on Kuwait’s Imam Al-Sadeq Mosque last year, the Council of Arab League at the level of permanent delegates expressed its strong condemnation and denouncement of the ‘heinous’ crime.
The council stressed, in a statement, its full solidarity with Kuwait, His Highness the Amir and Kuwaiti people in combating terrorism and extremism. The council voiced its sincere condolences to the Kuwaiti leadership, government and people, and its pride over Kuwait’s national unity and cohesion.