Cab­i­net re­signs; in­au­gu­ral As­sem­bly ses­sion on Dec 11 Op­po­si­tion urged to unite for speaker’s post

Kuwait to buy 28 US F-18 jets

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

KUWAIT:

Kuwait will buy 28 Boe­ing F/A-18 Su­per Hor­nets to re­place a fleet of ear­lier ver­sions of the US fighter jets, a top of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day. The value of the deal is not ex­pected to ex­ceed $5 bil­lion, the KUNA state news agency re­ported the head of ar­ma­ment and pro­cure­ment at Kuwait’s de­fense min­istry as say­ing. Maj Gen Lafi AlAzmi said the deal stip­u­lates the sup­plier will re­pur­chase the old Hor­net fighter jets from Kuwait. He added that de­tails of the sale would only be dis­closed af­ter it is of­fi­cially signed. “Given Kuwait’s prox­im­ity to tur­bu­lent lo­ca­tions, we cer­tainly need ef­fec­tive mil­i­tary equip­ment,” he was quoted as say­ing.

The US State De­part­ment this month said it has au­tho­rized the deal, as well as the sale of 72 F-15 Strike Ea­gle jets to Kuwait’s Gulf neigh­bor Qatar at an es­ti­mated value of $21 bil­lion. In April, Kuwait signed a con­tract with Italy’s Fin­mec­ca­nica for the pur­chase of 28 Eurofighter Ty­phoon war­planes for un­der Ä8 bil­lion ($8.5 bil­lion).

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The Cab­i­net ten­dered its res­ig­na­tion to HH the Amir yes­ter­day fol­low­ing the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions as re­quired un­der the Kuwaiti con­sti­tu­tion. The ac­tion is not linked to the strong show­ing of the op­po­si­tion groups in the snap gen­eral elec­tion, but is a pro­ce­dural re­quire­ment. Af­ter the Amir holds cus­tom­ary con­sul­ta­tions with for­mer As­sem­bly speak­ers and pre­miers ex­pected to start from to­day, he will ei­ther reap­point out­go­ing Prime Min­is­ter HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak AlSabah or ask an­other se­nior mem­ber of the rul­ing fam­ily to form the next Cab­i­net.

Be­fore step­ping down, the Cab­i­net ap­proved an Amiri de­cree call­ing for the new Na­tional As­sem­bly to hold its in­au­gu­ral ses­sion on Dec 11 af­ter form­ing the new Cab­i­net. The new Cab­i­net is ex­pected to un­dergo a great change to re­flect the re­sults of the As­sem­bly elec­tion, es­pe­cially with the op­po­si­tion and its al­lies win­ning nearly half of the 50 seats. This will en­able the op­po­si­tion to grill and even vote min­is­ters out of of­fice be­cause they need a max­i­mum of 25 votes. They also can grill the premier and vote him out of of­fice. The new Cab­i­net is ex­pected to be formed next week. There have been de­mands by many elec­tion can­di­dates, some of whom won As­sem­bly seats, for ap­point­ing new faces in the Cab­i­net.

In the mean­time, the bat­tle for the next speaker ap­pears to have started. Op­po­si­tion leader and for­mer Is­lamist MP Faisal Al-Mislem called on the three op­po­si­tion as­pi­rants for the post - MPs Ab­dul­lah Al-Roumi, Mo­ham­mad Al-Mu­tair and Shuaib Al-Muwaizri - to select one can­di­date be­tween them­selves to face the speaker of the out­go­ing house Mar­zouq Al-Ghanem.

The sup­port of the govern­ment, which will have its 16 mem­bers as one bloc, is crit­i­cal for the next speaker. With­out the govern­ment votes, it is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult for any­one to win.

The Na­tional As­sem­bly in March ap­proved spend­ing an ad­di­tional $500 mil­lion as an ad­vance pay­ment for the jets. That fund­ing came on top of $10 bil­lion ad­di­tional de­fense spend­ing al­ready ap­proved by par­lia­ment in Jan­uary to up­grade the coun­try’s mil­i­tary. Kuwait is a mem­ber of the USled coali­tion bomb­ing Is­lamic State group tar­gets in Syria and Iraq, and is also tak­ing part in a Saudi-led coali­tion pound­ing Iran-backed rebels in Ye­men. Last year, it bought 24 Cara­cal mil­i­tary tac­ti­cal trans­port he­li­copters and French light ar­mored ve­hi­cles. — Agen­cies

KUWAIT: HH the Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Ha­mad Al-Sabah (right) sub­mits the Cab­i­net’s res­ig­na­tion to HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah at Bayan Palace yes­ter­day. —- KUNA By B Iz­zak KUWAIT:

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