|03KUWAIT4467||2003-09-29 16:46:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Kuwait|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KUWAIT 004467
1. SUMMARY: MEDIA REPORTS OF A STATEMENT ATTRIBUTED TO CPA
ADMINISTRATOR PAUL BREMER THAT KUWAIT SHOULD RECONSIDER
SEEKING COMPENSATION FROM IRAQ FOR THE 1990-1991 IRAQI
OCCUPATION HAVE SPARKED A FUROR IN THE KUWAITI PRESS OVER
THE PAST TWO DAYS. AT LEAST 15 EDITORIALS LAMBAST BREMER
AND THE US ON THE ISSUE, WHILE OVER A DOZEN MEMBERS OF THE
KUWAITI PARLIAMENT HAVE GONE ON RECORD DENOUNCING THE
ALLEGED COMMENTS. END SUMMARY.
2. Sample Headlines September 28:
--Al-Anba: "MPs and Politicians Reject Dropping
--Al-Seyassa: "Members of Parliament warn the Government
against complying with Washington's Request to Drop the
--Al-Qabas: "Kuwait: There is an International Resolution
and the Issue is non-Negotiable."
--Al-Watan: "Bremer to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia: "You've had
enough compensations." "Angry Members of Parliament to the
Government: Don't you ever Relinquish the Compensations."
Sample Headlines September 29:
--Al-Anba: "Citizens: We will not Relinquish our
Compensations and Cabinet Discusses Bremer's Remarks. Poll
Shows Overwhelming Popular Rejection of Bremer's Request."
--Al-Watan: "Families of Martyred POWs: Do We Relinquish
our Rights after Thirteen Years of Torture?" "Citizens: We
Will Not Relinquish our Rights, The Losses are Grave and the
Wound has not Healed."
3. News Stories:
Fifteen Members of Parliament expressed strong rejection of
Bremer's statements. MP Naser Al-Sanea argued that "Kuwait
will never be a milking cow." MP Dr. Deifallah Buramiya
stated that "if Bremer is so sympathetic about the (Iraqi)
GDP, then he must call for dropping all debts owed by poor
countries to the United States." Other MPs who opposed
Bremer's calls for dropping compensation claims are MP
Abdulla Okash, MP Mekhled Al-Azmi, MP Hussein Muzeid Al-
Mutairi, MP Mohammed Al-Fejji,, MP Ghanem Al-Mea, MP Fahd Al-
Khanna, MP Dr. Yousef Al-Zalzala, MP Badr Sheikhan Al-Farsi,
MP Dr. Waleed Al-Tabtabae, MP Dr. Khaled Al-Adwa, and MP Dr.
Al-Rai Al-Aam (9/28) quoted informed sources at the Public
Commission for Compensations saying that talking about
dropping the compensations is "unacceptable" and argued that
the UN has undertaken just measures to compensate those who
suffered as a result of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
Al-Rai Al-Aam reported (9/28) quoted Minister of
Information, Mohammed Abul Hasan's response to Bremer's
remarks upon his return from the United States: "This issue
was not discussed in New York because it is non-negotiable
in the Security Council. The Security Council has said its
word and has since referred this matter to the UNCC in
Geneva. The committee has approved funds, not only for
Kuwait, but also for approximately 44 other countries who
sustained losses." "It is not easy to ask countries to give
up their claims, such claims belong to individuals, not
countries.. In the case of government (claims), this is up
to the Security Council which must convene at the request of
countries that have incurred losses. No single country can
be the exception to the rule; instead, there must be a
decision from all countries who are still awaiting their
claims.This is not an easy process. There are hopes and
there is understanding on the part of some countries but
turning this matter into a resolution is not in the upcoming
Al-Seyassa reported (9/28) that senior level diplomatic
sources said Bremer's comments contradicted statements
issued by Ahmed Chalabi during his recent visit to Kuwait.
According to the sources, Chalabi reiterated Iraq's
commitment to UNSC resolutions, especially those pertaining
to compensation claims, POWs, sovereignty, and Kuwaiti-Iraqi
Al-Seyassa reported (9/29) that upon his return next week,
Prime Minister, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed, will discuss the
issue of Kuwaiti compensation claims with National Assembly
Speaker, Jassim Al-Khorafi, in light of recent statement
issued by Amb. Bremer.
Al-Watan (9/29) criticized lack of an official government
response to Bremer's statements for the second consecutive
All newspapers (9/29) published interviews with citizens,
families of the martyrs and POWs and with prominent Kuwait
figures all strongly refusing the idea of dropping
compensation claims and ardently denouncing Amb. Bremer for
Al-Anba (9/29) published a poll which surveyed the opinion
of 1000 Kuwaitis. Some citizens recommended calling in the
American Ambassador and handing him a memorandum of protest.
--48% expressed astonishment and shock at Bremer's request.
--59.8% said Bremer made this request because he knew Kuwait
--55.8% said Bremer's request will not be implemented under
U.S. pressure, 40.3% said it will.
--64.8% believed Kuwait should reexamine the way it is
dealing with Iraq.
4. "What Nonsense!"
Arabic daily Al-Anba's opening editorial opined (9/28):
"What right does Bremer have to call on Kuwait to relinquish
its rights?.... What about other resolutions on similar
issues? What if the Iraqi governing council gets
dissatisfied with the demarcation of the border, will
Bremer...also ask us to relinquish this right? Will he
whisper to the American Administration that our POWs do not
exist?.... Accepting such scorn for international
resolutions issued in Kuwait's favor is rejected and
unacceptable because compensations are part of Iraq's
acknowledgement of the invasion of Kuwait. Any violation or
amendment of any of these resolutions is a clear violation
of International laws."
5. "Et Tu Bremmer?"
Conservative Islamist MP, Dr. Waleed Al-Tabtabie, wrote in
independent Al-Watan (9/28): "It seems that the curse of
Iraqi rulers has been passed on to Paul Bremer.... We fear
that this slight bout of insanity would continue with
Governor Bremer to the extent that he starts calling for
annexing Kuwait to greater Iraq.... Mr. Bremer.please
remember that prior to invading Kuwait, Saddam also said
that Kuwait must drop the debts owed by Iraq. These same
claims are now being repeated by Bremer also in his capacity
as Iraq's governing authority.... Iraq's ousted leader had
met Kuwait's support during the Iraq-Iran war with
ingratitude and Bremer is doing the same thing today against
Kuwait.... Is this our reward?. Where are Bremer's
statements in relation to President Bush's words thanking
the Kuwaiti people and telling them that if it wasn't for
Kuwait, there would have been no victory in this war?"
6. "We Say No to America"
Liberal Secretary-General of the Kuwait Journalists
Association, Faisal Al-Qanaie, wrote in independent Al-
Seyassa (9/29): "It seems that Bremer wants to divert
attention away from his serious failure in returning normal
life to Iraq.... Bremer showed sly and bad intentions when
he drew a comparison between Iraqi and Kuwaiti GDPs. It is
as if he was inciting sedition and hatred among the
countries of the region, similar to what Saddam did before
him.... We fear that Bremer's action may lead to a rift in
U.S.-Kuwaiti relations. We also fear that America may lose
its status among Kuwaitis and it is not in America's
interests to lose its friends in Kuwait."
7. "Shame on You Bremer"
Abdul-Rahman Al-Ajmi wrote in independent Al-Seyassa (9/29):
"Did Bremer get prior permission from the American
Administration, specifically from State Department, to issue
these statements? How could these statements correlate with
Secretary Powell's description of Kuwait as a `strategic
partner'?... Mr. Bremer angered the Kuwaiti Street and he
deserves to be told `Shame on you Bremer.' We hope that the
American Ambassador in Kuwait would convey to Washington the
Kuwaiti discontent caused by Bremer's remarks."
8."Generosity from Other's Pockets"
Liberal Media Advisor to the Prime Minister, Sami Al-Nesf,
wrote in independent Al-Anba (9/29): "What is more
astonishing about Bremer's remarks are his justifications.
Comparing GDP as a legitimate reason for signing off debts
also means dropping off the debts owed by Asian, Eastern
European, and South American, and poor African countries to
the wealthy United States.... Kuwait has offered assistance
to the Iraqi people for the past 50 years without
emphasizing this favor...Those who voluntarily undertake
such acts cannot be accused of giving precedence to money
over humanitarian principles, as Bremer tried to imply."