Kuwait's ex-ambassador to the US dies

Sheikh Al Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US during Iraq invasion, dies after succumbing to battle with cancer.

    Sheikh Saud al-Sabah who served as Kuwait’s US ambassador has died after a long battle with cancer [AFP/Getty]

    Sheikh Saud al-Nasser Al Sabah, who served as Kuwait's ambassador to the US during Iraq's 1990 invasion of the oil-rich country, has died, a government-backed newspaper reports.

    Al-Qabas said the former diplomat died on Saturday aged 68. It gave no cause of death but some reports suggest the minister had succumbed to a long battle with cancer.

    A member of Kuwait's ruling royal family, Sheikh Saud was a leading voice calling for international help during Iraq's occupation.

    But he was forced to defend his tactics when it was revealed that his then-teenage daughter, Nayirah, told US politicians in October 1990 that she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers snatch new-born babies from incubators.

    Several rights groups later questioned the account, which helped galvanise US public opinion in favour of war.

    A statement on Sunday from the former president, George HW Bush, called Sheikh Nasser a "trusted partner'' during the Iraqi occupation and the US-led war in 1991 that drove Saddam's military from Kuwait.

    "Throughout that defining ordeal, he stood proudly with the US as our coalition ejected Saddam's forces from Kuwaiti soil and upheld international law,'' Bush's statement from Houston said.

    "He was truly a good man, and a joy with whom to work.''

    Sheikh Nasser served as Kuwait's ambassador to Washington from 1981 to 1992.

    In 1992, Sheikh Saud joined the cabinet for the first time and became information minister. He held the portfolio until March 1998 when he was appointed oil minister in a cabinet reshuffle.

    Sheikh Saud this month returned home following medical treatment at a London hospital.

    He later served in Kuwait's government as information minister and oil minister. In the past decade, he played an elder statesmen's role with close ties to the White House and US officials.

    In 2003, he joined other Kuwaiti leaders in endorsing the US invasion of Iraq and called it the "beginning of the end'' for extremists.

    Al-Qabas newspaper said a funeral was scheduled for Sunday.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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