Palestinian Speaker Says Ties with Kuwait Fast Improving
Kuwaiti-Palestinian relations, which have been strained since Iraq's 1990 invasion of the emirate, are rapidly improving, Palestinian legislative council speaker Ahmed Qorei said Thursday.
"Kuwaiti-Palestinian relations are improving rapidly. We look forward for a return to its past level. Kuwait has a special place in our hearts and is deeply respected," Al-Rai Al-Aam daily quoted Qorei as saying.
Qorei's statements come a few days after acting Kuwaiti premier and foreign minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah embraced Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at the emergency Arab summit in Cairo on Saturday.
And PLO number two Mahmud Abbas, known as Abu Mazen, paid homage to Kuwait's new position on the Palestinians following the clashes with Israel and voiced hope it marks "the start of normalization."
"We for our part will draw lessons from the past and open a new page to resume relations with our brothers in Kuwait," he told the Saudi daily Al-Watan.
Sheikh Sabah on Tuesday visited five injured Palestinians who arrived in Kuwait for treatment and called Yasser Arafat a "brother", despite a 10-year break in ties.
"When a brother comes to greet you, do you tell him 'no'?" Sheikh Sabah told reporters in response to a question about his embrace with the Palestinian leader.
Qorei said ties with Kuwait will greatly advance in the near future.
"This has left a deep impact on the Palestinians. It shows the solidarity of the Kuwaiti leadership and people with the struggle of the Palestinian people. Our ties will greatly advance in the coming period," he said.
The emirate regarded Arafat as Baghdad's strongest sympathizer after the Iraqi invasion of August 1990 and has demanded that he offer a public apology for his stance, something the Palestinian leader has refused to do.
But the violence in the occupied territories and the Arab summit at which Kuwait pledged strong support for the Palestinians has brought the emirate another step closer to reconciliation with Arafat -- KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
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