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Remembering Sheikh Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait

by the EGIC Team

The 91 year old Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who ruled the country since  29 January 2006, died on 29 September 2020 following a long-term illness. Prior to becoming Emir, Sheikh Sabah was the country’s longest serving Foreign Minister, who laid the foundations of an independent Kuwait’s foreign policy and helped develop the country’s first Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He spearheaded the country’s diplomacy since 1963, less than two years after gaining independence from the United Kingdom, until assuming the post of Prime Minister in July 2003. As an architect of Kuwait’s foreign policy, Sheikh Sabah guided the country through tumultuous years and defining moments for the Gulf region including: the Cold War, the 1970s Oil Crisis, the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the subsequent establishment of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Iran-Iraq War and the 1990 invasion by neighbouring Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s regime, which claimed Kuwait as its 19th governorate. Sheikh Sabah was a key figure in regional diplomatic efforts and a well-respected mediator of crises; being the fundamental driver for restoring relations with regional powers following the 1990-1991 Gulf War, acting as a mediator between Pakistan and Bangladesh, Jordan and Palestine, Iran and the other Gulf states as well as among the GCC countries themselves (re: the recent Qatar crisis), among others. Under his leadership, Kuwait led several humanitarian initiatives, notably in support of the Palestinian, Syrian and Yemeni people. His diplomatic and humanitarian efforts have been appreciated by high-level officials around the world, including in Europe, and he has received numerous accolades as a result. The EGIC Team extends its condolences to Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah will be internationally missed.

29 September 2020

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