| 9 December 2023, Saturday |

Controversy in Kuwait over Salam’s statements: “Our people’s funds are not managed with a stroke of a pen”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the state of Kuwait issued on Saturday the following statement:

“In reference to the statement made by the Minister of Economy and Trade in the Lebanese Republic, Amin Salam, which coincided with the third anniversary of the tragic Beirut Port explosion that resulted in a large number of casualties and injuries in the sisterly Lebanese Republic, as well as the destruction of several vital Lebanese government facilities, such as the grain silos at the Beirut Port, which were constructed through a loan provided by the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development in 1969.

His Excellency Sheikh Salem Abdallah al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, expressed Kuwait’s strong condemnation and astonishment at this statement, which contradicts the most fundamental political norms and reflects a limited understanding of the nature of decision-making in Kuwait.

Decisions in Kuwait are based on constitutional and institutional foundations, including humanitarian grants and loans provided by the Kuwaiti government to sisterly and friendly countries.
He further clarified that Kuwait has a rich historical record of supporting sisterly and friendly peoples and countries, but Kuwait firmly rejects any interference in its internal decisions and affairs.

Therefore, he urged the Minister of Economy and Trade in the Lebanese Republic to withdraw this statement to preserve the existing good bilateral relations between the two sisterly countries.”

On the eve of the third anniversary of the Beirut Port explosion, Salam had said that three weeks before the anniversary, he sent a message to the Emir of Kuwait through the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, appealing on behalf of the Lebanese people to rebuild the grain silos.

He declared that he made this request for the people of Lebanon and not for the government, stating “that bread is for the people, and it is not permissible for an Arab country to be without a strategic reserve.”

“We all have hope and expectation that within a certain period, we will receive a response from Kuwait, as the funds are available. I have communicated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and I have been informed that there are funds available in the Kuwaiti Development Fund, and with a stroke of a pen today, a decision can be made to build grain silos for Lebanon in Beirut and Tripoli,” he added.

The statements made by Salam, have sparked widespread anger in Kuwait, and there are fears that they may have sensitive political and diplomatic repercussions.

Kuwait did not take lightly what Salam said via “Sputnik,” the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Kuwaiti National Assembly, Abdullah Al-Mudhaf, announced that Kuwait is a country of institutions, and the funds of the Kuwaiti people are not managed “with a stroke of a pen.”

Additionally, Member of the National Assembly, Saud Al-Asfour, commented on the Lebanese Minister of Economy’s statement, saying that similar matters, which are practically done with a “stroke of a pen,” we, along with several other members of the parliament, previously proposed an amendment that requires the fund to obtain the approval of the National Assembly before approving foreign loans.”

  • LBCI