Kuwaiti Oil Minister Resigns Amid Government Upheaval
Kuwaiti Oil Minister Sheikh Saud Nasser al-Sabah has asked to resign from his position in the new Kuwaiti government, which is expected to be announced within several days, sources said on February 8th.
Kuwaiti Crown Prince and Prime Minister Sheikh Saad al-Abdulla al-Sabah had presented the government’s resignation to Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah on January 29th following the resignation of Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah on January 28th.
The ruling al-Sabah clan has faced division in its ranks for the past several years, with some calling for the separation of the posts of prime minister and crown prince.
Sheikh Saud had reportedly been upset by the concessions granted to Sheikh Sabah to lure him back into the cabinet and sources say he had cited internal disputes as his reason for leaving the government.
A Kuwaiti tracker tells Oil Navigator™ that: “The doubling of the size of Sheikh Sabah’s contingent in the new cabinet certainly ruffled the feathers of some, including the oil minister.”
Former head of the Kuwait Oil Company, Khaled al-Fulaij, is seen as the top candidate to replace Sheikh Saud. Al-Fulaij is adviser to the deputy prime minister, who also heads the Supreme Petroleum Council, and is said to back the controversial Kuwait Project.
The $7 billion project to allow foreign investment in Kuwait’s prized oil sector has faced numerous delays due to political wrangling and internal disagreements and could be further slowed by Sheikh Saud’s departure from the oil ministry.
Insiders speculate that al-Fulaij, who lacks the political clout of Sheikh Saud, couldl find the task of securing parliamentary approval for the plan a daunting one.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)