Paper: Palestinians, Kuwait Make First Official Contact in Decade
Kuwait and the Palestinians have made their first official contact in a decade, after the emirate rushed medical aid for Palestinians wounded in clashes with Israeli forces, a newspaper said Friday.
Al-Qabas, quoting a Kuwaiti government source, said the "Palestinian and Kuwaiti leaderships have made contacts after emergency medical aid was sent to help the Palestinian people".
Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah on Tuesday ordered the aid sent via Jordan to the Palestinians, whose leadership sided with Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Al-Qabas gave no details on the contacts.
But the Palestinian and Kuwaiti ambassadors to Amman met twice at Jordan's Marka airport on Wednesday and Thursday to receive the Kuwaiti planes delivering the aid, which was taken overland to the Palestinian territories.
The Kuwaiti government has condemned the "Israeli aggressions" against the Palestinians and urged the international community to take steps to halt the bloodshed.
The emirate also welcomed a call for an emergency Arab summit on the crisis.
Kuwait has restored normal ties with Jordan, Yemen and Sudan, the Arab states accused of backing Iraq in its seven-month occupation of Kuwait, but relations with the Palestinians remain frozen.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat shook hands twice with Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah during Yemen's unity celebrations in May.
But a Kuwaiti official said the handshake was purely "a protocol gesture" and did not signal any improvement in relations.
Kuwait regarded the Palestinians as Iraq's strongest sympathizers and has demanded that Arafat offer a public apology for their stance, something he has refused to do.
But the deadly clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers over Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site, appear to have subdued the bitterness that most Kuwaitis feel toward the Palestinians.
A non-governmental organization is planning a public rally in support of the Palestinians on Saturday, a rare event in the past 10 years in a country, which hosted more than 400,000 Palestinians before 1990.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled after the 1991 Gulf War, which liberated Kuwait, today leaving around 70,000 Palestinians and Jordanians of Palestinian origin who still work in this oil-rich state - KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)