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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03KUWAIT3139
2003-07-14 14:55:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Kuwait
Cable title:  

KUWAIT MEDIA REACTION JULY 14: APPOINTMENT OF

Tags:   KU  KDMR 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 003139 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, NEA/ARP, NEA/PPD, PA, INR/NESA,
IIP/G/NEA-SA, INR/B
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE
LONDON FOR GOLDRICH, PARIS FOR O'FRIEL
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA
CINCCENT FOR CCPA
USDOC FOR 4520/ANESA/ONE/FITZGERALD-WILKS
USDOC FOR ITA AND PTO/OLIA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KU KDMR
SUBJECT: KUWAIT MEDIA REACTION JULY 14: APPOINTMENT OF
SHEIKH SABAH AL-AHMAD AS NEW PRIME MINISTER


Summary: All media focus on decision of Amir of Kuwait to
divest the office of prime minister from the portfolio of
Kuwait's ailing Crown Prince and transfer it to Minister of
Foreign Affairs (and de facto head of government) Sheikh
Sabah al-Ahmad. Editorials, though preachy and full of
didactic advice for the new PM, are unusually supportive of
the appointment, which most writers hope will signal an era
of good feelings in Kuwaiti governance. END SUMMARY.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 003139

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, NEA/ARP, NEA/PPD, PA, INR/NESA,
IIP/G/NEA-SA, INR/B
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE
LONDON FOR GOLDRICH, PARIS FOR O'FRIEL
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA
CINCCENT FOR CCPA
USDOC FOR 4520/ANESA/ONE/FITZGERALD-WILKS
USDOC FOR ITA AND PTO/OLIA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KU KDMR
SUBJECT: KUWAIT MEDIA REACTION JULY 14: APPOINTMENT OF
SHEIKH SABAH AL-AHMAD AS NEW PRIME MINISTER


Summary: All media focus on decision of Amir of Kuwait to
divest the office of prime minister from the portfolio of
Kuwait's ailing Crown Prince and transfer it to Minister of
Foreign Affairs (and de facto head of government) Sheikh
Sabah al-Ahmad. Editorials, though preachy and full of
didactic advice for the new PM, are unusually supportive of
the appointment, which most writers hope will signal an era
of good feelings in Kuwaiti governance. END SUMMARY.


1. News Stories: All newspapers lead with news of the
appointment of former Acting Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-
Ahmad as the new Prime Minister of Kuwait. All newspapers
report that Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad sent a letter to the Crown
Prince and former Prime Minister, Sheikh Saad, "commending
his sincere efforts in holding the responsibility of
chairing successive governments."

Al-Qabas reports that an official source has denied reports
that the Crown Prince, Sheikh Saad, was stripped of his
powers as head of the government, stressing that Sheikh Saad
had voluntarily submitted his resignation as required by the
constitution, which calls for the resignation of the
government immediately following parliamentary elections.

Al-Rai Al-Aam reports that MPs, academicians and political
figures welcome the appointment of Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad to
form the new government, and commend the separation of the
positions of Crown Prince and Prime Minister. Al-Anba
newspaper reported that Shia'a scholars in Kuwait have also
welcomed Sheikh Sabah's appointment.

Al-Qabas reports that Islamist Salafi Islamic Coalition
chairman Khalid Sultan Al-Issa stated that the separation of
the positions reflects the "beginning of a new era," and
that the composition of the new cabinet will determine the
level of cooperation between the government and the National
Assembly.

All newspapers report a statement by the Secretary General
of the Islamic Constitutional Movement, Issa Al-Shaheen that
the decision is a big step towards political reform in
Kuwait.

Al-Seeyasah reports that former MP Adnan Abdelsamad stated

that the National Assembly is now capable of holding the
Prime Minister accountable for his mistakes, in contrast to
when the Crown Prince held the position.

All newspapers report that Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad is expected
to announce the new Council of Ministers (cabinet) on July

15.

Al-Watan reports on its front page that Islamist MP Waleed
Al-Tabtabaei warns against the appointment of "Westernized"
ministers in the new government.

Editorials:


3. "The New Government and Kuwait's Dues"
Editor-in-chief of independent Al-Qabas, Waleed Al-Nesef,
opined (7/14): "Kuwait stands at a historic moment that
requires the political leadership to guide the country
towards the future. [The new Prime Minister] has to appoint
cabinet members who respect and defend laws, and are capable
of resisting the extortion of MPs. Kuwait deserves a
government that believes in the principles of participation.
therefore, the number of royal family members in the new
cabinet should be limited. Kuwait deserves a government that
is politically balanced, not controlled or led by one
current or power. We want a courageous government that is
capable of making incisive decisions and is able to
implement these decisions. This is a new opportunity for
Kuwait to seriously solve its problems and confront the
internal and the regional problems facing the country."


4. "May God Help you"
Editor-in-chief of independent Al-Watan, Mohammad Al-Jassim
writes (7/14): "We have to look toward the future now after
the appointment of Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad as the Prime
Minister. Our efforts must be united to reorganize our
internal affairs. The duties thrown on Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad
are enormous. One of the most important issues that the
government must deal with is the reformation of the
relationship between the government and the National
Assembly, which was troubled over the past years. Kuwait
also needs to reconstruct its political and economical
systems in light of regional and international events. We
extend our congratulations to Sheikh Sabah and at the same
time we tell him, `May God help you.'"


5. "The Reign"
Editor-in-chief of independent Al-Rai Al-Aam, Jassim Boodai
writes (7/14): "Sheikh Saad has been serving Kuwait without
rest since the Sixties. He engaged in constructive dialogue
in making his decisions. He stood beside the Amir on many
occasions, and helped him in running the country and
rebuilding Kuwait after the invasion. He ignored his
doctor's advice to relax and ended up paying a dear price
for his continued efforts. The assignment of Sheikh Sabah Al-
Ahmad as Prime Minister is. an honor to Sheikh Saad by
reducing the load of his duties."


7. "More Important than the Appointment"
Ahmad Al-Dayeen wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (7/14):
"I strongly believe that Kuwait is facing a serious
political challenge and its direction depends on what the
new Prime Minister aims to achieve. and the team who will
assist him in his mission. Moreover, from the names I have
read so far as possible Cabinet members, it appears that the
next Cabinet will not be in touch with the requirements of
the twentieth century. I believe that the government will
include members of the religious parties, while liberals and
businessmen will be excluded. This is a preliminary
indication that Kuwait has not comprehended what it needs to
face the future, or the changes in the region planned by the
US."


8. "One Step in a One Thousand Mile Trip"
Liberal lawyer Hassan Al-Essa wrote in independent Al-Qabas
(7/14): "The appointment of Sheikh Sabah as Prime Minister
is an important step in a one thousand mile trip. Sheikh
Sabah has before him the difficult task of implementing
reforms, and is not an exaggeration to say that the new
National Assembly will be an obstacle in the road reform of
many issues. These are just small challenges compared to
what is happening in the region."


9. "We Welcome, Cautiously"
Abdelataif Al-Duaij wrote in independent Al-Qabas (7/14):
"I have mentioned on many occasions that we do not want a
change in persons only [in the cabinet], but rather new and
open policies. We need to be politically, socially and
economically open to others. Our welcoming of Sheikh Sabah
as Prime Minister depends on whether if he is capable of
starting a new era or not."


JONES