Kuwaiti Press Calls for Government's Resignation after Deadly Oil Blast

Published June 27th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Kuwait's newspapers on Tuesday called on the government to resign over a devastating blast in the emirate's biggest oil refinery that left five people dead and 50 wounded. 

"Away from the blast and the fire ... we say: the government must go," charged Al-Rai Al-Aam in a front-page editorial. 

"The government has failed to perform its duties. It has failed miserably in dealing with the economy, which is going from bad to worse. It has bombarded Kuwaitis with many statements but with no action," the paper said. 

"In the most simple and clear terms: Kuwaitis do not want a reactive government ... it is like an ostrich burying its head in the sand to avert the storm," it said. 

The calls come two days after a huge explosion rocked Al-Ahmadi refinery, bringing it to a complete halt and damaging an estimated 80 percent of the facilities, which have a production capacity of 450,000 barrels per day (bpd). 

Oil Minister Sheikh Saud Nasser al-Sabah said Monday he had submitted his resignation to Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, after taking political responsibility for the incident. 

"For truth and history, the government should be held responsible. It's regrettable to see it at the helm of affairs," liberal daily Al-Qabas stressed in its editorial. 

"We have protected the corrupted establishment and as a result we have been destroyed by the storm," the paper said. 

Al-Watan, meanwhile, urged severe penalties for those found responsible for what Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah termed on Monday as a "catastrophe". 

"What is required now is to be strict in applying punishments and reforming any defect in the administration of the oil sector," it said. 

Al-Anba newspaper, for its part, urged the authorities to seek the assistance of specialised foreign companies to implement international safety standards. 

"Refineries and their facilities are Kuwait's lifeline. We must not play down their safety and security and never look to save money in this field," it said. 

Following last week's gas leak at Shuaiba refinery in which two Kuwaiti engineers were killed, Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) chairman Hani Hussein ordered a complete reexamination of the safety systems at all refineries - KUWAIT CITY (AFP) 


© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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