al-Khurafi: “Kuwait welcomes Yemen’s joining the Gulf Cooperation Council.” [Archives:2001/13/Local News]

March 26 2001

In a press conference held last Wednesday in Sheraton Hotel, Jasem al-Khurafi, al-Umah Council chairman, confirmed that the Yemeni labor in Kuwait had been discussed many times and that Kuwait is determined to facilitate Yemeni employees there. More than 70 thousand Yemeni employees used to work in Kuwait before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. This issue was also discussed last year when Sabah al-Ahmad paid a visit to Yemen during the unity festivals.
Mr. al-Khurafi also talked about many common issues including the Kuwaiti hostages in Iraq and the Yemeni mediation in this context. He stated that Kuwait would back up whoever tried to help release Kuwaiti hostages in Iraq, asserting that this was an entirely humanitarian issue and had nothing to do with any political haggles.
In response to a question about Yemen’s joining the Gulf Cooperation Council, Mr. al-Khurafi indicated Kuwait’s welcome to this at any time.
Mr. al-Khurafi expressed a sense of relief and satisfaction over the results of talks held with President Ali Abdullah Saleh last Tuesday afternoon. He highly appreciated Yemen’s understanding of problems agitating Kuwait, particularly the hostage issue.
With regard to the American forces stationed in Kuwait, he said Kuwait was not colonized. “Kuwait will never be the place to offend anyone. However, there is no reason to blame Kuwait for its alliance as all the mediations with the Iraqi regime came through. Kuwait does not feel ashamed of its actions. Besides, Iraq has never stopped its threats not only against Kuwait but also against Saudi kingdom as well. Peace and stability will never be restored in the region unless Iraq stops threats against its neighbors.”
He explained that Kuwait stood by the Iraqi people and their sufferings and supported Iraqi people in the North and in the South. He said that Kuwait pins high hopes on Arab leaders who were to meet in Amman. He hoped that they would be up to the expectations, reiterating Kuwait’s determination to restore the Arab solidarity.
Kuwaiti hostages in Iraq took the biggest share in the Yemeni-Kuwaiti talks. Signs of these concerns have surfaced as the Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulkader ba Jamal carried a letter to the Iraqi President Sadam Hussain in this regard.
Political and media sources have expressed doubts about the Iraqi government’s positive response to the Yemeni mediations and revealed that talks were still held within a strained stance by the Iraqi side.
On the other hand, Mr. Sabah al-Ahmad, Kuwait vice PM and Foreign Minister, arrived in Sana’a last Wednesday carrying a letter from the Emir of Kuwait to President Saleh pertaining to the Arab Summit, being prepared for, and the Kuwaiti hostages as the Yemeni diplomacy exerts swift efforts in this regard.