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Wednesday, 30 May, 2001, 22:11 GMT 23:11 UK
Angry welcome for Palestinian in Kuwait
Palestinian official Faisal Husseini
Husseini is the first Palestinian official in Kuwait for 10 years
Members of the Kuwaiti parliament have reacted angrily to the visit of senior Palestinian official Faisal Husseini.

Kuwaiti parliamentarians warned their government against any rapprochement with the Palestinian Authority, saying it has yet to apologise for siding with Iraq during the 1990-91 Gulf crisis.

Eleven years on, the authority hasn't said one word that condemns the Iraqi occupation

Former Parliamentary Speaker Ahmed al-Saadoun
"This is a clear message. I have spoken to my colleagues who promised to take tough and decisive action when they feel that the Kuwaiti Government intends to normalize relations with the Palestinian Authority," legislator Saleh al-Fadalah said.

Mr Husseini, the Palestinian Authority's most senior official in Jerusalem, arrived in Kuwait on Tuesday to attend a conference on resisting the normalisation of relations with Israel.

It is the first visit by a Palestinian official to Kuwait since it severed ties with the Palestinian leadership after the Gulf crisis.

Supporting Iraq

Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization supported Iraqi President Saddam Hussein when his forces invaded Kuwait in August 1990.

We spoke about means to restore ties and allow the wounds to heal

Faisal Husseini
Kuwaitis accuse Palestinians living in the Gulf state at the time of openly sympathising with the Iraqis or collaborating with them.

About 450,000 Palestinians lived in Kuwait before the Iraqi invasion. Most were expelled or pressured to leave after liberation, and the Palestinian community has dwindled to around 9,000.

"Eleven years on, the authority hasn't said one word that condemns the Iraqi occupation," legislator and former Speaker Ahmed al-Saadoun said.

"We will not accept it that the conference to resist normalization with Israel turns into a conference for normalization with the Palestinian Authority," Mr Saadoun added.

Restoring ties

Mr Husseini met the Kuwaiti parliament's foreign affairs committee on Wednesday and Foreign Minister Sheik Mohammed Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah.

"We discussed bilateral relations. The two sides feel that this issue must be sorted out correctly, because it is in our interests to put an end to this unsuitable atmosphere and restore ties," Mr Husseini said.

"We have not spoken about Kuwaiti demands or conditions or anything of this type. We spoke about means to restore ties and allow the wounds to heal," he added.

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15 Jan 01 | Middle East
Agony of Kuwait's missing
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