Kuwaiti MPs press for arming Syrian opposition
KUWAIT CITY KUWAIT’S parliament adopted on Thursday a non-binding resolution calling on the government to arm the Syrian opposition and to sever diplomatic ties with Damascus.
The vote came following an emergency session to debate developments in Syria, where thousands of people have been killed in a bloody crackdown by the regime of President Bashar al Assad on pro-democracy protests.
The resolution called on the oil-rich Gulf state to “support the Free (Syrian) Army with weapons.” Parliament also urged the government to join international efforts to refer the Syrian president to the International Criminal Court as a war criminal.
And it called for sending Kuwaiti medical teams to help the Syrian people, bringing critically wounded Syrian civilians for treatment in Kuwaiti hospitals and sending medical aid to refugees in Jordan and Turkey.
MPs also urged the government to allow charity organisations to raise donations for the Syrian people and to allow Syrians working in Kuwait to bring their families.
The government did not object to the recommendations and said it will study them before taking a final decision.
On Wednesday, MPs passed a resolution calling on the government to recognise the opposition Syrian National Council as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
In a statement read to parliament on Thursday, Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al Sabah said Kuwait believes an Arab League plan for Syria is still the “only option that can resolve the situation in Syria.” He said the plan can “avert foreign intervention and prevent Syria from sliding into civil war,” and that Kuwait will send aid to Syrian refugees through international aid organisations.
The plan calls for Assad to hand over power to his vice president as a prelude to elections.
But MPs strongly condemned the Syrian regime for committing massacres against the Syrian people.
“A gang is ruling Syria and is recruiting foreign troops to massacre the Syrian people ..
Had (former Iraqi dictator) Saddam (Hussein) been alive, he would have been ashamed of the crimes in Syria,” Islamist MP Khaled al Sultan said during the debate.
Last week, five opposition MPs, including parliament speaker Ahmad al Saadun, filed a bill calling for the scrapping of all economic cooperation agreements with Syria.
The bill would also require the government to cancel a host of agreements, sever diplomatic ties with Damascus and ban all loans to Syria.
Last month, Kuwait joined other Gulf states in expelling the Syrian ambassador and recalling its own envoy from Damascus.
Kuwaitis have held repeated demonstrations against the deadly crackdown in Syria by Assad’s regime, which the United Nations says has left more than 7,500 people dead since last March.