First Palestinian ambassador to Kuwait in 22 years takes oath

October 10, 2012

Rami Ihsan Tahboob takes the oath before President Abbas - WAFA

The first Palestinian ambassador to Kuwait in more than 22 years on Wednesday took the oath before President Mahmoud Abbas.

The ceremony in Ramallah was attended by Riyadh Al Maliki, the foreign minister, Palestinian and Kuwaiti official news agencies reported.

Rami Ihsan Tahboob is expected to take up his diplomatic post in Kuwait City this month. Last month, Al Maliki said that the diplomat would present his credentials to the Kuwaiti government in October.

The Palestinian embassy was closed in 1990 in the wake of a deep Kuwaiti-Palestinian rift following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussain. Iraqi military forces invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990, prompting the United Nations Security Council to pass Resolution 660 condemning the invasion. One week later, the Council passed Resolutions 661 and 662 that authorised the use of military force to liberate Kuwait.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Palestinians in general saw Saddam as a hero who in the mould of Egypt’s president Jamal Abdul Nasser, publicly defied the Middle East policy of the West and threatened to wipe out Israel. A deceptive announcement by Saddam that he would withdraw from Kuwait if Israel pulled out of the occupied Arab territories was cheered by Palestinians who openly supported him against the coalition forces.

Kuwaitis felt betrayed by the Palestinian pro-Saddam attitudes and, following its liberation in February 1991, Kuwait cut off ties with the PLO, froze its financial backing and expelled a large number of Palestinians from the country. The wound in bilateral relations started to heal only 14 years later after Abbas

apologised in December 2004 for the Palestinian stances in 1990 towards the Iraqi invasion.

“We apologise to Kuwait and the Kuwaiti people for what we did,” Mahmoud Abbas told reporters after arriving in the state on the first visit to Kuwait by a senior Palestinian since relations were suspended. Relations have since evolved and Kuwait has repeatedly announced multi-million dollar donations to Palestinians and contributed millions to projects supporting Palestinian development.

In August, Khalid Al Jarallah, Kuwait’s foreign ministry undersecretary, said that Kuwait and the Palestinian National Authority had reached an agreement on re-opening the embassy.



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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