KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah takes oath at the National Assembly yesterday. - Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: HH Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah yesterday took the constitutional oath in the National Assembly to exercise his authority as the 16th Amir of the country, as late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was laid to rest at Sulaibikhat cemetery. Sheikh Nawaf took the oath to safeguard the country's interests during a special session held by the Assembly. The house did not undertake any other business for the day and it was unclear whether the current term will end today or will be extended till next week.

The body of Sheikh Sabah, who passed away in a hospital in the United States on Tuesday, arrived in the country yesterday aboard a Kuwait Airways aircraft to a reception led by HH the Amir, senior ruling family members and government dignitaries. The plane was met by royal guard members, each carrying a flagpole at half-staff.

HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem, senior officials and family members carry the bier of the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah upon its arrival at the airport yesterday.

The body was taken in a large motorcade to the nearby Siddiq area, where mourners performed funeral prayers at Bilal bin Rabah Mosque. Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attended the prayers. Sheikh Sabah's body was wrapped in a white shroud and a Kuwaiti flag and placed in a simple metal coffin. The motorcade then drove to Sulaibikhat cemetery, where the late Amir was laid to rest in a simple ceremony attended only by close relatives because of the coronavirus pandemic.

After taking the oath, HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf paid tribute to Sheikh Sabah and recalled his major achievements in the service of the nation. Sheikh Nawaf also called for national unity, insisting that Kuwait had in the past overcome challenges by cooperation and unity. He added Kuwait is currently facing acute circumstances and critical challenges that can be countered only through unity. He committed himself to Kuwait's "democratic approach" in the address before lawmakers, who were spaced out and wore masks in line with coronavirus precautions.

Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem praised the great achievements of the late Sheikh Sabah through his wise policies and strategic decisions, which safeguarded the country against dangers. World leaders and Kuwaitis alike have hailed the legacy of the late Amir, architect of the nation's modern foreign policy and mediator in some of the worst crises to grip the Gulf. Meanwhile, 10 MPs withdrew a non-cooperation motion they filed against the prime minister last week following a grilling. The lawmakers said they made the move as a gesture of cooperation in the new era.