KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah addresses the Natoinal Assembly's inauguration session. - Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat and Amiri Diwan

KUWAIT: Kuwait's leadership is pleased with the democratic process to contribute to the national fight against corruption, promote development and address the most urgent struggle against coronavirus, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said yesterday. Addressing the inaugural session of the 16th legislative term of the National Assembly, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled welcomed the newly elected MPs who earned the trust of the public during the December 5th parliamentary election. The Prime Minister thanked the previous incarnations of the National Assembly and government for their efforts especially during these turbulent times.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled stressed that the government and parliament should work together as a unified front to address challenges and find solutions to better Kuwait and its people. Perhaps the most trialing event this year was the loss of His Highness the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, lamented His Highness the Prime Minister, adding that it came at a time when COVID-19 had hugely impacted the economy and the way the people of Kuwait lived.

While the efforts continue to deter this menace, Kuwaitis, residents, and members of the frontline -- whether in the health sector, police, army, national guard, firefighters as well as state employees -- all played a part in fending off COVID-19, he stressed, wishing mercy upon those who lost their lives during the pandemic and swift recovery for the infected.

The Prime Minister then relayed an important message concerning the respect of law, constitution, and national unity, saying that these vital tenets will help steer Kuwait as a nation toward progress and away from strife. He indicated that the Cabinet was eager to cooperate with constitutional institutes to achieve the goals of democracy, hoping that the current legislative term will usher new era of cabinet and parliament cooperation.

His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled affirmed that the government will act in accordance with the constitution -- especially article 98 -- to achieve the aspiration of citizens through the direct consultation with parliament to battle against corruption, boost development, and achieve goals such as the E-government. Article 98 stipulates that, "Immediately upon its formation, every Cabinet presents its program to the National Assembly. The Assembly may make comments with regard to such a program."

In regards to the government progress, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said that it would mainly focus on fighting corruption via uprooting it from its sources and question entities and individuals behind it. He stressed that the program will be based on realistic and implementable goals. Developing the government institutions will also be a priority for the cabinet, stressed Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, adding that progress in all of its meaning was a collective responsibility of all members of society.

Visa trafficking
Touching on the subject of those who practice visa trafficking, the head of government asserted that the Cabinet will swiftly implement laws to vanquish such ill and inhumane practice, which caused a serious damage to the demographic population of Kuwait, the economy, and social structure. He went on to say that the government will focus on finding a solution to unemployment via encouraging Kuwaitis to join the private sector in accordance with article 19/2000. On housing welfare, the government is eager to provide land and funding to those eligible in accordance to the program, which focuses on a solid solution to the issue, he affirmed.

Regarding the National Assembly's draft laws, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled touched on a number of papers, which needed approval including the documents on Al-Harir (silk) city, amendments to the election law, the foreigners' residency law, and other issues of great importance. Back to the government, His Highness the Prime Minister indicated that the Cabinet believed that human resources' growth is the basic brick in the proverbial structure of national development, a step which must come through cultivating the potential in youth and progressing the national education system.

Overall development is not an easy task, affirmed Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled who called on all sectors of society to drive the country's economy towards diversifying non-oil income to include lucrative commercial and financial venture, which will reach the nation's development goals and decrease the deficit.

People cheer in the crowd as Marzouq Al-Ghanem was announced as speaker of the house.

Gulf crisis
Meanwhile, His Highness the Prime Minister expressed optimism over the end of the Gulf crisis and restoring relations back to normal among conflicting parties. In his address to the opening session, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled affirmed that the government will continue its firm stance on a foreign policy based on respecting the sovereignty and independence of other countries, and not interfering with matters of internal affairs. He added that Kuwaiti will always support causes for freedom, justice, peace, and human rights worldwide, basing that on deep-rooted Arab and Islamic values.

Concerning the GCC, His Highness the Prime Minister said that Kuwait believed in the importance of the Gulf nations' security and indicated that it was a common responsibility shared by all member states. He reaffirmed that Kuwait will use all its resources to reach a positive conclusion to the Gulf crisis to bring relations back to normal. On December fourth, Kuwait Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr Ahmad Nasser Mohammad Al-Sabah announced "fruitful" talks were held recently, in regards to achieving reconciliation and supporting Gulf and Arab solidarity and stability.

"Within the framework of reconciliation efforts, previously led by His Highness (the late Amir) Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and in continuation of the efforts currently being carried out by His Highness Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait, and US President Donald Trump to resolve the crisis, fruitful discussions took place recently, in which all parties affirmed their keenness on Gulf and Arab solidarity and stability and to reach a final agreement that would achieve the aspirations of lasting solidarity between their countries and achieve what is good for their people," he said. - KUNA