Kuwait seeks to put Lebanese residents at ease

August 31, 2012

Kuwait has denied claims it is contemplating action against Lebanese residents in retaliation for the kidnapping of a Kuwaiti resident in Lebanon.

“Kuwait has no intention to take any retaliatory measure against the Lebanese citizens residing in the country,” Khalid Al Jarallah, the undersecretary at the Foreign Ministry said. “The kidnappers do not represent the Lebanese people,” he was quoted as saying by the local media.

Several Kuwaiti lawmakers from the dissolved 2012 parliament and the reinstated 2009 legislative body called for the expulsion of all Lebanese residents if Essam Al Hooty, 52, an engineer abducted on Friday in eastern Lebanon, was not released.

“If he is not released within 24 hours safe and sound or if any Kuwaiti national is harmed in any way, all Lebanese residents will be expelled from Kuwait and interests would be cut off,” lawmaker Khalid Al Sultan had said. “We should follow the Doha threat to expel all Lebanese citizens from Qatar if any Qatari was attacked in their country.”

Al Jarallah said that the Foreign Ministry was coordinating with the Kuwaiti embassy in Beirut on the incident and that he was confident about the outcome of the efforts to secure the release of Al Hooty.

Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has assured Jasem Al Khorafi, his Kuwaiti counterpart, that all security agencies were working on reaching out to the abducted Kuwaiti and ensuring his release. “Lebanon cannot forget what Kuwait has done for its sake and the distinguished relations between the two countries,” he said, quoted by the Kuwaiti media.

Essam Al Hooty, was abducted as he was spending his holidays with his Lebanese wife, Fawzia Arafat, 28, and their infant daughter.

According to his Fawzia, her husband was kidnapped in front of their rented residence by three people who forced him into a car at gunpoint before speeding away. She said that she had not heard from her husband or his captors ever since.

Al Hooty’s family, in a statement to the public, expressed their appreciation for the support they had received, but urged caution when making statements on the case.

“We thank all those who stood by us during these critical times,” the family said. “We also thank those who expressed their views on the case, but we do hope that the issue will be resolved formally through the efforts of the governments of Kuwait and Lebanon. We hope that the case, and in respect for the feelings of the family, will not be exploited in any way.”

On Sunday, former lawmaker Mohammad Al Saqr had urged Kuwaiti citizens and groups to address the case of the kidnapping with a “high sense of responsibility” and “to distance themselves from electoral schemes and despicable sectarian affiliations”.

“Most of the statements are detrimental to the kidnapping victim and do not help with his release,” he said. “A kidnapping in Lebanon, a country that is suffering from a difficult political and security situation, is a complex, intricate and highly sensitive issue that cannot afford prejudice, bias or misinterpretations,” he said.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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