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Saturday, June 13, 1998 Published at 22:42 GMT 23:42 UK


World: Middle East

Political dispute in Kuwait

The Emir of Kuwait has twice before dissolved parliament

The emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, is trying to resolve a dispute between the government and the national assembly which has raised speculation that parliament could be dissolved.

The crisis followed requests by the assembly to question the interior minister on such issues as the drugs trade and human rights.

A BBC correspondent says their repeated claims of corruption and questions about arms imports had also raised tensions.

The emir presided over an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday. A statement said the cabinet had examined the obstacles hindering co-operation.

The emir is expected to meet leading politicians later on Sunday.

Boycott of parliament

The dispute came to a head last week when Cabinet ministers boycotted a parliamentary session.

The emir stepped-in to mediate between the national assembly and government ministers, many of whom belong to the ruling al-Sabah family.

The Prime Minister and Crown Prince Sheikh Saad al-Abdallah al-Sabah, had complained that parliament was paralysing his government's work.

The BBC correspondent says relations have never been easy between the al-Sabah family and the national assembly - the only elected parliament in the Gulf.

The emir has dissolved the assembly twice since it was set up 36 years ago.

In March the government resigned over a dispute with Islamic parliamentarians, but the ruling family retained key posts in the new cabinet.





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