Opposition MPs urge Gulf to act over Aleppo ‘genocide’

MP: Visitors should have health insurance – Court to study poll petitions from Dec 25

KUWAIT: Opposition MPs yesterday called on the governments of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to expel Russian ambassadors from their countries in protest over what they called Moscow’s role in “genocide” against civilians in the Syrian city of Aleppo. Speaking at a small rally held inside the National Assembly building, MP Jamaan Al-Harbash charged that Russian-backed Iranian and Syrian troops are committing “genocide against civilians in Aleppo amid total international negligence”.

He urged the six GCC states to expel Russian ambassadors to protest Russia’s military involvement in the brutal attack on the city, and also called for opening mosques for fundraising campaigns for Aleppo residents. Aleppo has been under heavy bombardment by Russian and Syrian jets, as Iranian-backed militias and Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad troops have been advancing on the populated eastern districts of the city held by the Syrian rebels.

Abdullah Fahhad, another Islamist MP, demanded the expulsion of the envoys of both Russia and Iran. MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei said that a protest will be staged today outside the Russian embassy at 3:30 pm to condemn the massacres against the Syrian people. Several other MPs who spoke at the rally strongly condemned the massacred being committed against Syrian civilians and called on the government to rush aid to the residents of the city.

MP Abdulkarim Al-Kandari said several MPs have signed a petition calling to hold an emergency session of the Assembly next Tuesday to discuss the situation and atrocities in Syria. The Islamist-dominated opposition won nearly half of the 50 seats in a snap general election last month. But Shiite MP Khaled Al-Shatti rejected calls to stage a demo outside the Russian embassy or hold a parliamentary meeting, saying that Syrian people should be congratulated instead for the liberation of Aleppo from “terrorists”.

Meanwhile, opposition MP Mohammad Al-Dallal said he has started collecting signatures of lawmakers to hold a special Assembly session on Jan 10 to discuss the controversial economic reform package. He said many points in the package need to be explained. The package was strongly criticized by a majority of MPs during the election campaign.

In a related development, several pro-government MPs, many of whom were members of the previous house, proposed a draft law to ban the government from raising the price of services or commodities without the prior approval of the Assembly.

Dallal meanwhile said that a majority of MPs support the amendment of the one-vote election system. Also, MP Khalil Al-Saleh submitted a proposal calling on all expatriates who come to Kuwait as visitors to have medical insurance that covers the duration of their visit.

Separately, the constitutional court set Dec 25 to look into the election petitions in the first, second and third electoral constituencies. It also set Dec 26 and 27 to look into similar petitions for the fourth and fifth constituencies respectively. The court will likely set other dates to either hear arguments or issue its verdicts. The process is likely to take several months.

By B Izzak

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