Kuwaiti Islamist MPs Demand Halt to Strikes on Afghanistan

Published October 23rd, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Twenty-five Kuwaiti Islamist MPs issued a statement Tuesday calling for an end to US-led strikes on Afghanistan while denouncing all forms of terrorism. 

"Parliament calls for halting this war and resorting to solutions that lead to the arrest of the perpetrator of this crime (the September 11 attacks on the US) and trying him in a fair court that guarantees the full rights of all concerned parties," said the statement. 

It said the Kuwaiti parliament "understands the US administration's response to those attacks, but at the same time, it expresses its deep concern at the ongoing war against Afghanistan... and the destruction of this Muslim country that has been worn down by wars and struggles." 

The statement also said parliament reaffirmed "Kuwait's position against terrorism in all its forms" and that the response to terror should be based on "an international consensus on the definition of terrorism and the determination of the mechanism of charging someone with it." 

Although the 25 signatories make up half of Kuwait's elected MPs, liberal parliamentarian Mohammad al-Saqr said their statement "does not represent parliament" because it was not put to a vote. 

To that extent, the statement breaches parliament's internal statutes, and it "only represents the Islamic movement," Saqr told AFP. 

"We're against hitting the people of Afghanistan," Saqr added. "But this is not a war on Afghanistan; it is an operation against terror." 

The US-led military campaign against Afghanistan began October 7 after Kabul's Taliban regime refused to hand over Osama bin Laden, chief suspect in the September 11 attacks, to the United States. 

For the second consecutive day, Kuwaiti Islamist MPs Tuesday called in parliament for a halt to the strikes on Afghanistan which have entered their third week. 

MP Khaled al-Adwa said Monday that the US should stop its "unjustifiable war" on Afghanistan and urged his government to take a "courageous stand" against the strikes. 

The Kuwaiti government announced Sunday it was launching a donation campaign in the country to provide the Afghan people with food and other aid. 

Kuwaiti Information Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Sabah, who is organizing the campaign, said Monday it would be in full swing in a few days. 

"Afghan people are our Muslim brothers and the Kuwaiti government has been supporting Afghan people and refugees even at the United Nations level," said Sheikh Ahmad. 

Kuwait has repeatedly expressed solidarity with the United States in the wake of the terror attacks on New York and Washington, stressing the emirate's "rejection of terrorism in all its forms and whatever its sources." 

A US-led international coalition forced Iraqi occupation troops out of Kuwait in 1991 -- Kuwait City, (AFP)  

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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