Kuwait's Acting Premier Calls on Media to Curb Sectarian Tensions

Kuwait's Acting Premier Calls on Media to Curb Sectarian Tensions
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Published September 22nd, 2010 - 08:41 GMT

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At a briefing (http://www.kuna.net.kw/NewsAgenciesPublicSite/ArticleDetails.aspx?Language=en&id=2111987) with senior editors earlier this week, Acting Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaber_Al-Mubarak_Al-Hamad_Al-Sabah), said the Kuwaiti government and media were responsible for avoiding anyone who uses sectarian incidents to cause national strife. "We need to come together for mutual assistance," he said.

He told the assembled editors that prevention of sedition is a national responsibility and is the responsibility of everyone in his or her respective location. His comments were a continuation of what he recently said when speaking to the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) last week. He explained, "What is going on is not of the country's interest and would not lead to 'objectively' solving issues being discussed in the media."

At the meeting (http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=MzA1MjkzNzk1) at the Diwan of His Highness the Prime Minister in Seif Palace, the Acting Premier described the media as "one of the tools of the Kuwaiti people" to protect those "who ask us for help and support." He said "the press is capable of escalating events or scaling them down."

Sheikh Jaber, taking a stern and aggressive tone, said the government will coordinate with Parliament "and if we see that there are shortcomings in our laws, the interest of Kuwait will be above all," he added. "The superpowers that have preceded us in a democracy have taken vigorous legal action to extend personal freedoms. It is time for us to join hands in this matter and protect the Kuwaiti people and our internal front from any harm." Freedoms, he said, will always be respected.

Identifying oneself as a Kuwaiti is paramount, the acting Prime Minister said. "Kuwait is greater than tribes. Identity cannot be affiliated to tribes. I am basically a Kuwaiti." He said he had ordered the cancellation of the tribal affiliation for the newly-enlisted citizens in the military academy, "for everybody is a native of Kuwait."

The Minister of Interior Sunday issued a ban on "sectarian" gatherings and warned against those trying to drag the country into a sectarian Shiite-Sunni rift. 

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