Kuwait emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah dies aged 91

Sheikh Sabah ruled Kuwait since 2006. (KUNA)
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Updated 30 September 2020

Kuwait emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah dies aged 91

  • ‘With deep sadness and sorrow the Emiri Diwan sends its condolences to the people of Kuwait’
  • Sheikh Sabah ruled Kuwait from 2006

RIYADH: The emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, has died aged 91.

Sheikh Sabah ruled Kuwait since 2006.

“With deep sadness and sorrow the Emiri Diwan sends its condolences to the people of Kuwait, the Arab and Muslim nations, and our friendly nations worldwide," Royal Court Minister Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah said on state TV.

 

Kuwait’s Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah will be sworn in as the nation’s new emir on Wednesday.

Sheikh Sabah was admitted to hospital in July and underwent surgery, before traveling to the US for further treatment.

His death brought an ourtpouring of grief and condolences from both the Gulf, the region and beyond.

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PHOTOS: Death of Kuwait ruler Sheikh Sabah draws outpour of grief

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He served as Kuwait’s foreign minister from 1963 for four decades after holding a number of other governmental posts.

He then became prime minister in 2003.Kuwait announced 40 days of mourning to remember Sheikh Sabah.

Opinion

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The leader was widely respected for his leadership, diplomacy and as a mediator in the region. 

He helped steer the country through the devastating invasion by Iraq in 1990 and a number of other crises in the region.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman were among the region’s leaders to offer their condolences to Kuwait and Sheikh Sabah’s family.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Sheikh Sabah “was an extraordinary symbol of wisdom and generosity, a messenger of peace, a bridge-builder.”

Donald Trump this month awarded the US Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander, to Sheikh Sabah - the first time the honor has been given since 1991.


Turkish Cypriots elect Erdogan’s candidate amid east Med tensions

Turkish Cypriot politician Ersin Tatar celebrates his election victory in Turkish-controlled northern Nicosia, Cyprus October 18, 2020. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 October 2020

Turkish Cypriots elect Erdogan’s candidate amid east Med tensions

  • The European Union has deplored Turkey’s drilling for hydrocarbons in disputed waters and warned Ankara against further “provocations,” while multiple countries have staged military drills in the region in recent months

NICOSIA: Turkish Cypriots in breakaway northern Cyprus on Sunday narrowly elected right-wing nationalist Ersin Tatar, backed by Ankara, in a run-off poll, at a time of heightened tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.
Tatar, 60, clinched his surprise victory in a second round of presidential elections, winning 51.7 percent of the vote, official results showed.
He edged out incumbent Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, 72, a supporter of reunification with the Greek Cypriot south of the divided island, leaving attempts to relaunch long-stalled UN-brokered talks hanging in the balance.
Tatar is an advocate of a two-state solution and held the post of premier in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), recognized only by Ankara.
He controversially received the open backing of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the election campaign.
In a victory speech to hundreds of cheering and Turkish flag-waving supporters, Tatar thanked Turkey’s head of state and said: “We deserve our sovereignty — we are the voice of Turkish Cypriots.
“We are fighting to exist within the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, therefore our neighbors in the south and the world community should respect our fight for freedom.”
There was no immediate official reaction from the Greek Cypriot government or ruling party in the south of the island, which is a European Union member state, although opposition parties were quick to lament the outcome.
Erdogan was swift to celebrate the victory, which followed a high 67-percent turnout at the polls.
“I congratulate Ersin Tatar who has been elected president ... Turkey will continue to provide all types of efforts to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people,” he wrote on Twitter.

HIGHLIGHT

Ersin Tatar edged out incumbent Mustafa Akinc, leaving attempts to relaunch UN-brokered talks hanging in the balance.

In a telephone call the same night, Erdogan said he was confident the two leaders would maintain close cooperation in all areas, “starting with the hydrocarbon linked activities in the eastern Mediterranean,” his office said.
Under Erdogan, Turkey has become an increasingly assertive regional power that is now engaged in a bitter dispute with Greece and Cyprus over oil and gas reserves in eastern Mediterranean waters.
The European Union has deplored Turkey’s drilling for hydrocarbons in disputed waters and warned Ankara against further “provocations,” while multiple countries have staged military drills in the region in recent months.
The second-round ballot was triggered after Tatar won 32 percent of the vote on Oct. 11 ahead of Akinci, who garnered just under 30 percent.
Akinci was tipped to secure a second term, having won the backing of Tufan Erhurman, a fellow social democrat who came third last time around.
After his defeat, Akinci, who had accused Ankara of meddling in the polls, thanked his supporters and said: “You know what happened ... I am not going to do politics on this.”
The TRNC, with a population of about 300,000, was established after the north was occupied by Turkey in 1974 in reaction to a coup that aimed to annex Cyprus to Greece.
Earlier in October, Turkish troops angered the Republic of Cyprus by reopening public access to the fenced-off seaside ghost town of Varosha for the first time since Turkish forces invaded the north.
The reopening was announced jointly by Erdogan and Tatar at a meeting in Ankara just days before the first round of polling.
It drew EU and UN criticism and sparked demonstrations in the Republic of Cyprus, which exercises its authority over the island’s south, separated from the TRNC by a UN-patrolled buffer zone.
On the eve of Sunday’s vote, Greek Cypriot demonstrators massed at a checkpoint along the so-called “Green Line,” holding signs that read “Cyprus is Greek,” in protest at the reopening of nearby Varosha to the Turkish Cypriots.
Turkey has repeatedly said it seeks to defend Turkish and Turkish Cypriots’ rights in the eastern Mediterranean.
Akinci’s relationship with Ankara had come under strain, especially after he described the prospect of the north’s annexation by Turkey as “horrible” in February.
When Akinci took office in 2015, he was hailed as the leader best placed to revive peace talks.
But hopes were dashed in July 2017 after UN-mediated negotiations collapsed in Switzerland, notably over Greek Cypriot demands for the withdrawal of the tens of thousands of Turkish soldiers still stationed in the TRNC.