KUWAIT: Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah strongly rejected on Thursday interference in the country's internal affairs, particularly from what he called "friends". In a press conference, Sheikh Salem said he also strongly rejects interference in the country's judicial system and its rulings.

"Kuwait is a democratic state and we are proud of it, proud of its system and the separation of powers in the country. Thus, we as a government or individuals cannot interfere with the work of the judicial branch from any outside party," Sheikh Salem said. The minister noted that decisions made by the judicial apparatus are independent without any interference either internally or from abroad.

Sheikh Salem also expressed wishes that European countries would not "politicize" waiving Kuwait from the Schengen visa system, because the overall purpose of the waiver is to improve relations between the two sides. He made the remarks after statements by Vice President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas, who said Wednesday's execution of seven people could have consequences on waiving Kuwait from the Schengen visa system.

On Thursday, the European Parliament postponed until further notice voting on applications to exempt citizens of Kuwait and Qatar from the Schengen visa requirement, which was scheduled in Brussels Thursday. The European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs did not disclose the reason behind the postponement.

The executions were the first since Jan 25, 2017, when the country also hanged a group of seven people. They coincided with a visit by Schinas. "The EU calls for a halt to executions and for a complete de facto moratorium on carrying out the death penalty, as a first step towards a formal and full abolition of the death penalty in Kuwait," the bloc said in a statement. The EU also summoned Kuwait's ambassador and warned the country's bid to get visa-free travel to the bloc was at risk because of the executions. - Agencies