Emir's visit breathes life into alliance
Wednesday 24 May 1995
The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, arrived in Britain yesterday for a state visit intended to underline the political, military and economic ties between the two countries.
The Emir is the only Gulf ruler obliged to share power with a vigorous National Assembly, elected by male-only suffrage, which is engaged in a constitutional struggle for influence with the Sabah family.
Most Londoners will only have been aware of the Emir's presence because the ceremonial procession caused traffic jams. But at Buckingham Palace he was assured of a welcome from the Royal Family, before talkswith the Prime Minister.
Britain exported pounds 312m of goods to Kuwait last year, and substantial defence contracts underpin the British commitment to the Emirate's territorial integrity. Kuwait signed agreements with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council after the 1991 Gulf war. The agreements were invoked when the US, Britain and France sent reinforcements last autumn after Iraqi troops deployed near Kuwait's border.
The Emir and his government will be keen to deliver the message that President Saddam Hussein remains a menace and that sanctions should be maintained against Iraq.
Kuwait's adoption of a form of democracy makes it easier for the US and Britain to justify their alliance with the Emirate. The National Assembly, dissolved by the Emir in 1986, was revived by popular demand after the Gulf war.
Britain would like to present Kuwait as an example to absolutist rulers in the Gulf. The Kuwaiti monarchy allows relatively open debate, which is reflected in a sometimes outspoken press. By contrast, the rulers of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman maintain the traditional combination of repression and silence.
The Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, said yesterday that he believed there was a movement towards democracy in all the Gulf states. But, he said: "Each Arab country will move in its own way."
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 3 Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Sir David Attenborough interview: The one question about life that still baffles him
Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
One spelling error costs Companies House up to £9 million after being sued for ruining business
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£17000 - £23750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Liverpool based international...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...
£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...